AUSTRALIA’S resources and energy exports are on track to set a new record of $226bn in 2017-18 and keep rising this year, according to the recently released June 2018 edition of Resources and Energy Quarterly.
In his introduction to the report, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science acting chief economist Davit Turvey wrote that he expected Australia’s commodity export earnings to largely hold their current level in aggregate terms over the next two years.
“A lift from $226bn in 2017-18 (already a record high) to $238bn by 2018-19 is expected,” he wrote.
“After this, lower prices are expected to reduce export revenue slightly, to $232bn by 2019-20.”
However, within the larger picture Mr Turvey expects some “significant divergence” in different commodities.
“Gas exports are set to rise strongly, as huge investments in supply meets massive new demand from Asia,” he wrote.
“Conditions for coal producers are more mixed, with metallurgical coal demand easing slightly, while earnings for thermal coal remain largely stable. Earnings for iron ore are likely to soften a little, but base metals such as copper and nickel — which play an important role in developing new technologies and energy storage — are showing increasingly strong prospects.”
Minister for resources Matt Canavan said the figures in the report were “very exciting”, particularly that coal was looking to become Australia’s most valuable resource export.
“It is likely coal and iron ore will continue to fight it out for the title of Australia’s top export-earner in coming years, while LNG will also perform strongly.
“That will see coal reclaim its place at the top of Australia’s export earners – a position it held for decades until it was supplanted by booming iron ore exports in 2010 – and is great news for the major coal-producing States of Queensland and New South Wales,” he said.
“These figures demonstrate once again the vital importance of the resources sector to Australia, providing a massive contribution in terms of spending, royalties and jobs throughout the nation.”
Mr Canavan also noted that the report provides special analysis of Australia’s future as an LNG exporter.
“Australia is set to become a global powerhouse in LNG over the next few years as tens of billions of dollars in investment start to pay off,” he said.
“Three huge LNG projects are expected to be completed in 2018. The completion of Wheatstone, Ichthys and Prelude will create a huge benefit to the Australian economy as production kicks in and exports get underway.”