Commodities exports up

EARNINGS from Australia’s commodity exports are forecast to rise by 14 per cent to $140 billion in 2006-07, according to the September issue Australian Commodities, from the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics. The value of Australia’s minerals and energy exports is forecast to be around $108 billion in 2006-07, a rise of 18 per cent from $92 billion in 2005-06. The price outlook across the mineral resources remains positive, reflecting continued strong world demand and modest growth in supply. Following significant rises in 2005-06, further price increases in 2006-07 are forecast for many mineral commodities, including iron ore, gold, aluminium, nickel copper and zinc. In addition to higher prices, the volume of Australian mineral resources exports, in aggregate, is forecast to rise markedly in 2006-07. In the farm sector, export earnings are forecast to be around $28.3 billion in 2006-07, a rise of 2.1 per cent from 2005-06. Agricultural commodities, for which export earnings are forecast to increase in 2006-07, include wheat, rice, wine, live cattle and cheese. For farm commodities as a whole, the index of unit export returns is forecast to rise slightly in 2006-07, after a marginal decline in 2005-06. Total winter crop production in Australia is forecast to be significantly lower than in the previous season, mainly as a result of below average winter rainfall across the Australian grains belt. Last week, Western Australia’s minerals and energy sector posted export earnings of $90.5 billion in 2005-06, an increase of 32 per cent on the previous corresponding period. This year’s result represents a 38.5 per cent increase since 2000-01, when the total value of mineral resource exports was $55.6 billion.

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