Asia superpowers drive SA’s nation-leading growth

09 Oct 2023
South Australia’s export growth continues with this month’s growth the best in the nation as the State recorded a 17 per cent increase to top $17.7 billion – with China and India, as Asia’s superpowers, driving the boom.
The State’s growth is now two-and-a-half times greater than the national average with figures showing South Australia at the fore of trade growth as one of only two states to record double-digit growth in the year ending August 2023, outperforming Western Australia (13 per cent).
Latest ABS data shows China remains SA’s number one export destination, experiencing strong growth – up 48 per cent to $2.9 billion over the past 12 months – as Australian and Chinese relations stabilise.
Increased demand for South Australian iron ore and concentrates (up 50 per cent to $1.12 billion), copper (up 172 per cent to $801 million) and wheat (valued at $330 million) fuelled growth in Chinese export figures.
The continued growth serves as the foundation for Premier Malinauskas’ led delegation of senior business and industry leaders to China last month, along with the recent lifting of trade impediments on hay imports as trade with China resumes on products like cotton, barley, and timber.
India also recorded significant growth as a destination for South Australian exports, up 10 per cent to $1.1 billion making it the State’s fifth biggest market. It comes as the benefits from the Australia-India Economic Co-operation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) begin to be realised.
South Australia’s clean, green, premium food, such as legumes and pulses, were in high demand, with exports to India up 210 per cent to $483 million.
These trading results underpin the importance and the opportunities presented to the State and its producers during Minister Champion’s upcoming Trade Mission to India, the world’s fifth largest economy, next month – the first by a South Australian Minister since 2017. 
The Government’s continued focus in the Asia region comes as India strives to become the world’s third largest economy behind the US and China within a decade.
Four of South Australia’s top five export destinations are in Asia, including Malaysia (up 17 per cent to $1.3 billion) and Thailand (up 139 per cent to $1.2 billion) with further opportunities for South Australian exporters being explored by the State’s Special Envoy to Singapore and South-East Asia, Martin Haese.