Australia’s resources and energy exports forecast to set a record of $299 billion despite economic headwinds

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Media release

18 March 2020

The March 2020 edition of the Resources and Energy Quarterly (REQ) was released today by the Office of the Chief Economist, within the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER). The latest REQ explores the outlook for Australia’s resources and energy commodity exporters over the next five years.

This edition shows Australia’s resources and energy exports are expected to reach $299 billion in 2019–20, before easing back in subsequent years as some of the surprising price gains of recent quarters unwind. However, the possibility remains for new records to be set if prices continue to surprise on the upside. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) will have some effect on forecasts for this edition. It is assumed that this event will have an impact on Chinese and global GDP in the first half of 2020, with the effects largely playing out by June 2020, though at the time of writing, this remained a rapidly evolving issue.

In 2019–20, iron ore is expected to be the first commodity to top $100 billion in export earnings in a single year. A recent surge in gold mine investment, prompted by record high Australian dollar gold prices, is also expected to see Australia overtake China to become the world’s biggest gold producer in 2021. Massive investment in LNG saw Australia become the world’s largest gas exporter at points in 2019, and other commodities including copper, nickel and lithium hold strong prospects over the medium term.

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For more information and to access the report, visit Resources and Energy Quarterly: March 2020

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Key data

Australia’s resource and energy export values/volumes.

Chart shows Australia’s annual resource and energy export values/volumes from 2004-05 to 2024-25.

Source: ABS (2020) International Trade in Goods and Services, 5368.0; Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (2020).