Chinese economic rebound drives Australian exports

Iron ore

A dip in the output of the resources sector caused by COVID-19 may have been sharp but it has also proven to be relatively short-lived, according to the Resources and Energy Quarterly September report.

This is attributed to a sharp economic rebound of Australia’s major customer, China, after an almost-complete eradication of COVID-19 in the country.

The quarterly report forecasts resource and energy exports to reach $256 billion in 2020-21, before falling to $252 billion in 2021-22 due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said that although down on last year’s record, the forecast figures were impressive.

“The $256 billion in exports for 2020-21 is the third highest export result on record and $252 billion for 2021-22 is the fourth highest result,” Pitt said.

”These figures demonstrate the resilience of Australia’s mining sector in the face of unprecedented challenges from the pandemic and its ongoing importance to the country.

“The resources sector has underpinned Australia’s economy throughout 2020 and will continue to play a crucial role for the nation as the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Iron ore export earnings are estimated to remain extremely high at $97 billion in 2020-21, after setting an all-time record of $102 billion in 2019-20 due to a “surprisingly robust” demand from China and supply problems in Brazil.

Gold is also on track to set a new record of about $31 billion in 2020-21, according to the Resources and Energy Quarterly report.

“Strong prices for gold, iron ore and other minerals are leading to new investment plans, including the re-opening of gold mines long closed and a steady stream of new projects awaiting final investment decisions,” Pitt said.

Meanwhile, Australia’s metallurgical and thermal coal exports are predicted to fall in 2020-21 before recovering partially in the following period.

Copper and nickel exports, on the other hand, are expected to rise from 928,000 tonnes in 2019-20 to 942,000 tonnes in 2021-22, and 246,000 tonnes to 335,000 tonnes, respectively.

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