WA leads commodity boom

THE value of Australia’s iron ore exports, almost all of which come from Western Australia, is forecast to jump by more than 26 per cent to $18 billion in 2006-07, replacing metallurgical coal as the country’s most lucrative commodity export. And the country’s peak economic forecaster says liquefied national gas (LNG) exports, mostly from WA’s north western waters, will increase by 22 per cent to $6.1 billion in the same period. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics has also tipped a 12 per cent rise in iron ore prices this year. The figures, which further underline the crucial importance of the WA resources sector to the national economy, are contained in the March issue of ABARE’s Australian Commodities. Overall earnings from Australia’s commodity exports are forecast to increase by more than 7 per cent to a record $134 billion in 2006-07. The total value of Australia’s minerals and energy exports is now forecast to be $101 billion in 2006-07, up 8 per cent on the previous year’s $93 billion. But over the medium term and compared with 2004-05, the largest increases in the value of exports to 2010-11 will come from iron ore (up 99 per cent), LNG (up 95 per cent) and metallurgical coal (up 33 per cent). Total earnings from these three commodities are projected to account for around 75 per cent of the total increase in the value of Australian exports between 2004-05 and 2010-11.

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