Export boom set to continue: ABARE

IN its September issue of Australian Commodities, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics announced the value of minerals and energy exports is forecast to be around $A180 billion in 2008-09, with iron ore and metallurgical coal singled out for substantial increases.

Vivienne Ryan

The forecaster predicts significant rises in iron ore and metallurgical coal prices and an increase in the volumes exported.

“The short-term prospects for energy and mineral commodities remain positive, supported by continued demand growth and supply-side constraints,” ABARE executive director, Phillip Glyde, said in a statement.

Glyde said earnings from iron ore, coal, oil and liquefied natural gas are forecast to account for almost 98% of the growth in energy and mineral export earnings.

The commodities outlook said Australian metallurgical coal exports would increase to 150 million tonnes in 2009, up from 139 Mt in 2008.

In 2009, world metallurgical coal trade was forecast to increase by 6% to almost 250Mt, due to rising demand from developing nations.

Australia metallurgical coal accounts for around 60% of global metallurgical coal trade.

In its mineral statistics for the June quarter ABARE found significant increases in coal export earnings in 2007-08, with thermal coal up $1.6 billion (23%) to $8.3 billion and metallurgical coal up $755 million (5%) to $15.8 billion.