PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports were expected to take up a greater share of Australia’s resources exports, increasing from 19-million tons in 2011/12 to 88-million tons in 2017/18, the Bureau for Resources and Energy Economics (Bree) reported on Wednesday.
The expected increase in LNG exports was attributed to large investments in the sector.
Bree noted that LNG export earnings would increase from A$12-billion in 2011/12 to around A$61-billion in 2017/18, to be Australia’s second-highest export earner, second only to iron-ore.
Thermal coal and metallurgical coal exports are also expected to rise in nominal value terms by, on average, 8% and 4% a year respectively, over the outlook period.
Despite the expected increase in LNG exports, Bree reported that Australia’s total resources and energy commodity export earnings would likely decline to around A$186-billion in 2012/13, but would grow in the medium term.
“A forecast fall in the prices of key Australian mineral exports from their peaks in 2011, coupled with a high Australian dollar, is expected to result in a 3% decline in the nominal export value of resources and energy exports in 2012/13, relative to 2011/12,” said Bree executive director and chief economist Quentin Grafton.
He noted that iron-ore prices, which had been particularly volatile over the past six months, were one of the main drivers of the lower export values.
Iron-ore export earnings were forecast to decrease by 9% to A$57-billion, despite a forecast 11% increase in volumes.
Although the value of energy exports is projected to increase substantially to 2018, Australia’s export earnings from mineral commodities were expected to peak, in real terms, in 2014/15, as a result of declining commodity prices, particularly iron-ore.
“The nominal value of mineral exports is projected to increase by about 15% from 2011/12 to 2017/18, but the real value of mineral exports in Australian dollars is expected to peak in 2014/15 at around A$123-billion,” said Grafton.
“The assumed continuation of a high-valued Australian dollar and a fall in the US dollar price of iron-ore over the outlook period are the principal causes of this dip in the real export values of minerals from 2014/15.”
Bree reported that the total projected value of resources and energy exports in 2012/13 is about A$186-billion, some A$6-billion less than in 2011/12. As a result of a strong projected increase in export volumes of Australia’s bulk commodities, the nominal value of Australia’s energy and mineral exports was expected to reach a record A$205-billion in 2013/14.