Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Meanwhile, we are told our export income will boom

In the midst of worldwide economic turmoil Australia's chief commodity forecaster has ramped up its forecast for Australian export growth.

The Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics says Australia's income from minerals and energy exports will jump by 53% during the current financial year, up from an earlier estimate of 48%.

It says its latest quarterly forecasts reflect higher contract prices already negotiated for coal and iron ore and higher prices in prospect for oil, aluminum and gold.

While many developed economies will be weak in the year ahead, emerging economies such as China should be resilient.

Income from energy exports should jump 98%, and income from the export of other minerals and metals by 25%.

Total commodity export income should jump by 44% to a record $214 billion as income from farm exports climbs 9%.

The biggest upgrades concern coal exports...

The Bureau says Australia's income from coking coal will jump 181% during 2008/09, up from an estimate three months ago of 123%. Income from thermal coal exports will climb 114%, up from an earlier estimate of 74%. Iron ore export income will jump 91%, up from an earlier estimate of 72%.

By contrast the Bureau has revised down its estimate of export growth from oil and natural gas in response to weaker demand in the United States and Western Europe.

It expects China's economic growth to continue almost unimpeded, slowing from 11.9% in 2007 to 10% in 2008 and 9.3% in 2010.

The Minister for Trade Simon Crean yesterday released the Mortimer Review of Australia's export policies which recommended closer integration with China and more emphasis on services sectors in new Free Trade Agreements.