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Resources and energy export earnings are on track for a record-breaking year

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21 December 2018

The December 2018 edition of the Resources and Energy Quarterly (REQ) was released today by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Australia’s resources and energy export earnings are on track for a record-breaking year. Export earnings look set to reach $264 billion in 2018–19 and pull in more than half a trillion dollars over the two years to 2019–20. The weaker Australian dollar, high coal prices and rapid growth in LNG exports are driving the strong figures.

Coal is expected to overtake iron ore as Australia’s largest resource and energy export in 2018–19. Australia is on track to pass Qatar as the world’s largest LNG exporter in 2019. LNG export earnings are expected to increase from $31 billion in 2017–18 to $50 billion in 2018–19, on the back of surging export volumes and a recovery in prices.

However, the headline figures mask growing risks. ‘The world is nine years into the post-GFC recovery, and the peak of the current cycle has clearly passed’, the Chief Economist Mark Cully noted. ‘The key risk to the commodity outlook thus lies in the “double whammy”: the potential dual impact of growing trade tensions and a slowdown in global economic activity.’

The recent fall in oil prices represents another risk, threatening to reduce LNG, crude and condensate export earnings if sustained.

This edition of Resources and Energy Quarterly also contains an analysis of Australia’s resources investment pipeline. While the past few years has seen sharp falls — driven by the conclusion of LNG mega projects — the next few years are likely to see an increase in investment activity. The upswing will not be comparable to the boom of last decade, but will take a different shape, sweeping up commodities like lithium in a new investment cycle.

For more information and to access the report, visit www.industry.gov.au/req.

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