Iron ore seen driving Australia’s resources export earnings to a record in 2020/21 By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A stacker unloads iron ore onto a pile at a mine located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia December 2, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Booming iron ore prices are expected to account for nearly half of Australia’s record export earnings from resources this financial year and the country anticipates further gains ahead, according to a government report on Monday.

Earnings from Australian resources exports are estimated to come in at a record A$310 billion ($235.41 billion) in the 2020-2021 financial year ending in June, rising to A$334 billion the following year as industrial activity ramps up following COVID-19 restrictions.

The Department of Industry revised its estimate up by 14% from a March forecast due to strong iron ore prices, which hit an all-time high above $200 a tonne in early May on strong steelmaking demand.

“This is a very strong result in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” it said in its June quarterly report.

“Advanced economies and most of Australia’s major trading partners are continuing to recover strongly from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Australia’s mining sector makes up around 10% of the country’s’ gross domestic product and iron ore is the country’s top export.

Australia expects iron ore prices to average $137 this financial year from a March forecast of $128, and $129 next financial year, the government report said.

LNG export earnings are expected to jump 53% to A$49 billion in the year to June 2022 on the back of higher oil prices and a 5% rise in export volumes as problems at the Gorgon LNG and Prelude floating LNG are resolved, according to the report.

The government has also revised up expectations for thermal coal prices this year to $74 from $60, and to $82 next year. price expectations stand at $7,882 from a March forecast of $7,649, and are seen at $8,579 next year.

($1 = 1.3168 Australian dollars)

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