Resource export earnings on way to $350b

·2-min read

Australia's resources and energy exports are forecast to earn a record $349 billion for 2021/22, despite lower iron ore prices and the global disruption caused by COVID-19.

The latest federal industry department's Resources and Energy Quarterly report found high commodity prices, solid growth in export volumes and a weaker Australian dollar are driving a surge in export earnings.

It forecasts overall export earnings to hit $349 billion in 2021/22, before dropping to around $299 billion in 2022/23.

The previous financial year set a record $310 billion in total export earnings.

"The sector has gone from strength to strength and is performing better than it was pre-pandemic, further building on Australia's reputation as a reliable and stable supplier of resources and energy," Resources Minister Keith Pitt said.

The report noted Australia overtook China as the world's largest gold-producing country in the first half of 2021, with earnings forecast at $29 billion in 2021/22, before easing to $27 billion in 2022/23.

Iron ore export earnings are forecast to drop from $153 billion in 2020/21 to $132 billion in 2021/22, due to lower world prices.

But export volumes of iron ore are expected to grow from 868 million tonnes to 939 million tonnes by 2022/23.

Coal prices have more than recovered all of their 2020 losses on the back of global shortages.

Supply problems and surging demand from steel producers have seen Australian metallurgical coal prices hit multi-year highs.

Exports of metallurgical coal are forecast to hit 186 million tonnes by 2022/23, with revenue forecast to rebound from $23 billion in 2020/21 to $33 billion in 2021/22.

Thermal coal export values are forecast to rise from $16 billion in 2020/21 to $24 billion in 2021/22, before easing to $19 billion in 2022/23.

LNG export earnings are forecast to hit $56 billion in 2021/22.

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