Australia: Primed for investment and trade

19 Mar 2021


  • Edmund Tang

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) has released its Why Australia Benchmark Report 2021 (BMR).

Now in its 21st year, the report provides a wide range of economic and financial data that demonstrates why there is no better partner for trade, investment and collaboration than Australia.

Structured around five main factors for trading with and investing in Australia – Resilient Economy, Dynamic Industries, Innovation and Skills, Global Ties and Strong Foundations – the report benchmarks Australia’s credentials against other major economies in each category.

A low fatality rate with a low impact on GDP

Australia faced several challenges at the start of 2020. A major drought was followed by bushfires. The COVID-19 pandemic then shut international borders and dislocated trade.

The Australian economy put in an exceptional performance in 2020, despite these challenges. The Australian Government provided an economic stimulus package worth 18% of GDP to support businesses and the livelihoods of Australian workers.

Australia’s effective public health response and adherence to stringent lockdown measures minimised the virus’s transmission in the community.

The result was that Australia was less hard hit economically than other countries. Our GDP was 2.4% lower in 2020 than in 2019. This decline was far smaller than the average across advanced economies (see chart below).

Bloomberg recently rated Australia as the second best country in the world in its COVID Resilience Ranking.[1] By the end of February 2021, Australia combined a low fatality rate with a low impact on GDP relative to most other nations (see chart below).

A resilient, diversified economy

Australia has minimised the economic damage from COVID-19 with a significant loosening of monetary and fiscal policy, yet we remain one of the least indebted developed countries in the world.

According to the IMF, the Australian economy is projected to rebound quickly, growing by 3.5% in 2021. Australia is now expected to become the world’s 12th largest economy in 2021, up two places from 14th in 2019. Australia accounts for 1.6% of the global economy even though it’s home to just 0.3% of the world’s population.

This year’s BMR also highlights Australia’s advanced research and innovation capabilities; highly educated, multilingual and multicultural workforce; world-class universities and research institutions; good governance and strong institutions; and strong business links with the Asian region.

The 2021 edition also provides snapshots of Australia’s globally significant industries: Resources and Energy, Agribusiness, Education, Tourism and Funds Management. These industries help us respond effectively to all manner of disruptions.

In future posts, we will look in more detail at each of the five key factors that contribute to Australia’s attractiveness as a trade and investment partner.

You are welcome to download charts from the Benchmark Report 2021 for use in presentations and reports.


[1] Bloomberg’s COVID Resilience Ranking scores the largest 53 economies on their success at containing the virus with the least amount of social and economic disruption. The ranking and the coverage is updated in the last week of every month.