Australia’s resources and energy commodity export earnings are forecast to reach a record $209 billion in 2012–13, according to the Resources and Energy Quarterly—June quarter 2012, released by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE).


“The continued increase in Australia’s minerals and energy export earnings will be underpinned by strong growth in export volumes, particularly for iron ore and LNG following the completion of a number of projects.” said Professor Quentin Grafton, BREE’s Executive Director and Chief Economist.


The growth in earnings in 2012–13 is forecast to be underpinned by increases in export values for: iron ore, gold, thermal coal, liquefied natural gas, copper and alumina.


A lower assumed value of the Australian dollar against the US dollar in 2012–13 will also support increases in the value of Australia's resources and energy exports.


With the exception of aluminium, export volumes for all major minerals and energy commodities are forecast to increase. The largest increases, in percentage terms, are forecast to be LNG (21 per cent), alumina (15 per cent), metallurgical and thermal coal (both 13 per cent), iron ore (10 per cent) and copper (10 per cent).


“The increase in export volumes across the majority of commodities reflects recent expansions to mine and infrastructure capacity,” said Professor Grafton.


The forecast increase in LNG exports in 2012–13 reflects the start up of the Pluto LNG project, which will increase Australia's LNG capacity from around 20 million tonnes to over 24 million tonnes.


Australia's LNG capacity could exceed 80 million tonnes by the end of this decade.


Economic growth across a number of major economies, including China, is assumed to slow in 2012, relative to 2011, and then increase in 2013.


“Despite the uncertainty surrounding the outlook for some European economies, Australia’s export volumes for most commodities have remained strong throughout 2011–12, while prices for many commodities have remained at elevated levels relative to historical norms,” said Professor Grafton.


The Resources and Energy Quarterly report is available here.