Despite weaker commodity prices globally, Australia expects record-high $209 billion export revenue from mining and energy resources in the coming financial year. The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics attributes its optimism to new resource projects going full blast this year.
India’s exports in November grew 26.5 percent to $18.9 billion compared to the same period a year earlier, a government report said on Monday.
In particular, the bureau cited the fast expansion of iron ore, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal ventures and the rise in demand for these commodities, especially in Asia.
Quentin Grafton, chief economist of the bureau, said it anticipates a slowdown in demand for China and Europe but higher output would compensate for any further decline in prices.
The bureau predicted that iron ore exports, which are Australia's largest commodity, would go up 10 per cent or 510 million tonnes a year which would earn miners $67 billion in 2012-13.
LNG exports are expected to shoot up 30 per cent to $16 billion, mainly from the hike in output of the Pluto LNG plant of Woodside. With several major LNG projects by large oil and gas firms underway, Australia expects to become the world's largest LNG exporter by the end of 2020.
Coal exports are expected to expand by 13 per cent to $48 billion. The demand for thermal coal would mostly come from India.
However, coal exports are under threat due to a looming seven-day shutdown from three unions which could affect exports from Gladstone Harbour in central Queensland. The Maritime Union of Australia, the Australian Maritime Officers Union and the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers filed notices of strike which will start 7 p.m. on Friday.
The unions filed the notices of strike against towage firm Smit, which has exclusive licencing agreements for harbor towage with Gladstone Ports Corporation. They initiated the job walk-offs over new enterprise bargaining agreements. Talks between the unions and Smit started before the lapse of the current agreements in December but no agreement had been reached on wages.
Smit offered a 4.5 per cent yearly wage hike which was accompanied by productivity trade-offs, reports said.
The Port of Gladstone handles an average $169.8 million a week value of exports, of which $120 million is coal.
The Gladstone Ports Corporation confirmed no commercial vessels could enter or sail its port until the end of the industrial action.
Notwithstanding the threats, the anticipated spike in commodity exports justify the collection of the mining tax beginning July 1, said Treasurer Wayne Swan.
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