Australia’s resource and energy export earnings are forecast to hit a record of $299 billion in 2019–2020 despite the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The new estimate, put forth by the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in the latest Resources and Energy Quarterly (REQ) indicates an increase of $18 billion in the commodity export value on 2018–2019.
The REQ covers a five-year outlook period, highlighting the long-term structural changes that affect global commodity markets including urbanisation, industrialisation and technological change.
This edition includes information on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the commodity outlook, which is predicted to fall largely in the first half of 2020.
Oil prices face particularly significant falls as global demand for air travel diminishes. However, gold prices are seeing a substantial gain as investors seek safe options, with Australia likely to benefit with its growing gold production.
Australian Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the resource and energy exports continued to support the Australian economy.
“The strength and diversity of Australia’s resource and energy commodities have allowed export earnings to overcome challenging world economic conditions — to the benefit of the Australian economy,” Pitt said.
“Iron ore is expected to be the first commodity to exceed $100 billion in export earnings in a single year. This is a result of high prices, as well as decades of investment, innovation and automation, which have placed Australia at the forefront of the global iron ore market.
“Australia is also on track to become the world’s largest gold producer, expected to overtake China in 2021. Our world-class geological resources and innovative industry have allowed a rapid scale-up in production.
“With these types of numbers we are seeing that exploration expenditure is solid and that there is room for further growth. The best thing that we as a government can do is to remove any red and green tape that will stifle investment and ensure that our policy settings and actions for managing challenges like COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) are right.”
The minister said Australia was well placed to take advantage of growing market opportunities.
“Our exports of coal, gas and uranium are crucial to global energy markets and our success in extracting and exporting lithium, copper, nickel and zinc also make Australia important in supporting new technology, including electric vehicles and batteries,” Pitt said.