Coal is forecast to regain its place as Australia’s largest export earner in 2018-19, with an expected $58.1 billion in earnings – pipping iron ore exports at $57.7 billion.
The latest commodity forecast from the Department of Industry’s Office of the Chief Economist also shows coal is expected to earn $60.2 billion in 2017-18 – its highest-ever annual level.
Minerals Council of Australia executive director – coal Greg Evans said coal had historically been Australia’s biggest export earner and the latest forecasts confirmed its ongoing resurgence.
“The last 12 months continue to show the market fundamentals for Australian coal are positive, and the high productivity of our coal companies, proximity to major markets and strong regional economic and population growth will continue to underpin coal exports over the long term,” he said.
“Last month’s release of expert analysis by Commodity Insights for the MCA and the COAL21 Fund forecast import demand for thermal coal alone across Asia could expand by up to 400 million tonnes more than current levels by 2030.”
Overall Australia’s resource and energy export figures are on track to set a new record of $226 billion in 2017-18 – and go even higher in 2018-19.
Strong demand and prices push new records
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said strong demand and prices for iron ore, coal and liquid natural gas (LNG) in particular were pushing total exports from the sector to the new records.
“The prediction is that the 2018-19 figure will be $12 billion higher at $238 billion, with continuing strong demand for high-quality Australian coal seeing coal regain its traditional position as our single most valuable resource export,” Senator Canavan said.
“That will see coal reclaim its place at the top of Australia’s export earners – a position it held for decades until it was supplanted by booming iron ore exports in 2010 – and is great news for the major coal-producing States of Queensland and New South Wales.”
Senator Canavan said the report also predicted increased coal exploration in Australia.
“In May this year, the Queensland Government called for tenders to explore more than 540sq km in the Bowen, Surat and Galilee basins for coal, which is likely to support further growth in exploration activity,” he said.
The June 2018 Resources and Energy Quarterly is available at www.industry.gov.au