Australia’s resources and energy exports have improved over the past three months, earning a record $291 billion in 2019/20.
The December Resources and Energy Quarterly forecasts resources and energy exports will reach $279 billion in 2020/21 and $264 billion in 2021/22, up by $22 billion and $12 billion respectively from the September quarter forecasts, with improved global economic activity set to drive even stronger demand.
Resources Minister Keith Pitt said the figures, compiled by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, underlined the resilience of Australia’s resources sector.
“The diversity of Australian commodities and the investment in technology and innovation over the past 20 years helped producers and exporters overcome the challenging conditions of the past year and made sure Australia remained a reliable source of resources and energy,” Minister Pitt said.
“Australia now stands ready to help supply our export partners as they rebound from the global economic downturn caused by COVID-19, with the development and rollout of effective vaccines contributing to global optimism.
“Australia’s success in reaching new markets is an important part of our future success.”
The December Resources and Energy Quarterly, which is available on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website, shows iron ore export earnings are set to reach an all-time high of $123 billion in 2020/21, driven by demand from China and supply problems in Brazil.
Australia’s gold exports are on track to set a new record of about $30 billion in 2020/21 – making gold Australia’s third largest commodity export behind iron ore and LNG – with the demand for base metals, including lithium, copper, nickel and zinc also expected to rise.
According to the figures, coal and LNG exports earnings are expected to fall before recovering in 2021/22.
“Coal exports have been hit by uncertainty surrounding coal exports to China and a COVID-19 induced slowdown in the steel industry,” Minister Pitt said in a statement.
“The value of metallurgical coal exports, used in steel making, is forecast to fall to $22 billion in 2020-21 from $34 billion in 2019-20, before recovering partially to $27 billion in 2021-22.
“Earnings from thermal coal exports, used mainly for electricity generation, are forecast to fall from $20 billion in 2019-20 to $15 billion in 2020-21 before rising slightly to $16 billion in 2021-22.
“Australian LNG export earnings are forecast to fall from $48 billion in 2019-20 to $31 billion in 2020-21 due to weaker global prices and demand, before a partial recovery to $37 billion in 2021-22.”