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Australia's resource exports forecast to drop

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Photo by Bloomberg

3rd July 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Australia’s export earnings are expected to fall over the next two years to 2025 as energy prices return to levels seen before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the latest Resources and Energy Quarterly Report, the Office of the Chief Economist reported that Russia’s military action and the strength of the US dollar had delivered an estimated record A$460-billion in earnings for Australia’s resource and energy exports in 2022/23.

However, the export earnings are forecast to fall to A$390-billion in 2023/24 and then to A$344-billion in 2024/25, as energy prices go back toward levels traded prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The report estimated that liquefied natural gas (LNG) earnings are forecast to fall by A$24-billion to A$68-billion in 2023/24, as LNG prices ease from the record high levels reached in 2022. A further fall of A$8-billion is forecast in 2024/25.

LNG volumes would also ease to 79-million tonnes over the same period, from the 82-million tonnes exported in 2022, the report stated.

Thermal coal exports are also forecast to drop sharply, down from A$64-billion in 2022/23 to around A$38-billion in 2023/24 and A$30-billion in 2024/25, while exports of metals used heavily in the energy transition are expected to remain over A$40-billion, having doubled since 2021/22.

Australia’s exports of metallurgical coal are forecast to lift from an estimated 157-million tonnes in 2022/23 to 175-million tonnes by 2024/25, with the opening of several new mines, however, as prices decline Australia’s metallurgical coal export revenue will fall from an estimated A$60-billion in 2022/23 to A$42-billion in 2024/25.

Meanwhile, iron-ore spot prices moderated in the June quarter, driven by the slowdown in global economic growth and an easing in the rate of recovery of Chinese steel production. Iron-ore export earnings are expected to decline from A$123-billion in 2022/23 to A$113-billion in 2023/24, and to A$95-billion in 2024/25.

The report also expected gold earnings to decrease from A$23-billion in 2022/23 to around A$21-billion in 2024/25, as lower prices outweigh higher volumes.

The value of critical minerals and base metals, which are crucial to low emissions technologies, is estimated to have posted record earnings of A$46-billion for 2022/23, but will fall modestly in the outlook period as lower prices more than offset the impact of higher volumes.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King said the value of lithium exports in 2022/23 almost quadrupled from the previous financial year, to over A$19-billion in 2022/23. But the value will decline to around A$15-billion in 2024/25 as prices moderate.

With prices coming off recent highs, Australian nickel export earnings are forecast to fall from A$4.5-billion in 2022/23 to A$4.2-billion in 2024/25, while copper export earnings are expected to grow to A$13-billion in 2024/25, from the A$12-billion reported in 2022, on the back of higher production.

“The latest Resources and Energy Quarterly underlines the government’s plan to support the development of our critical minerals sector, to make Australia a clean-energy superpower and to help Australia and our trading partners meet commitments to lower emissions,” King said.

“The road to net zero runs through the resources sector. Australia is well positioned to supply long-term demand for base metals and critical minerals such as lithium, which are crucial components of clean-energy technologies such as batteries, solar panels and wind turbines.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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