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AUS: Patchy Recovery For Commodities

ABARE Media Release

14 September 1999

AUS: Patchy Recovery For Commodities In The Short Term

'The value of Australia's commodity exports is forecast to remain largely unchanged in 1999-2000 at $64.4 billion' ABARE's Acting Executive Director, Mr Vivek Tulpulé, said today when releasing the September issue of Australian Commodities. 'The value of energy exports is forecast to increase. But the effect will be offset by expected lower export values for farm products and metallic minerals and metals', Mr Tulpulé added.

ABARE has forecast that energy exports will increase from $14.4 billion in 1998-99 to $15.3 billion in 1999-2000, mainly reflecting significantly higher petroleum exports. In contrast, export earnings for metallic minerals and metals are forecast to decline to $24.1 billion in 1999-2000 from $24.8 billion in 1998-99, mainly as a result of lower exports of gold and iron ore.

For the farm sector, exports are forecast to be $22.1 billion in 1999-2000, a 1.4 per cent decline on the previous year. Although prices for farm exports are forecast to decrease by 5.0 per cent, this will be partially offset by increased export volumes. Continuing high levels of supply and subdued demand in world markets are the main contributing factors to the weaker outlook for the farm sector.

'Better US dollar prices are in prospect for some key minerals and energy commodities driven by stronger world economic growth and announced production cuts', Mr Tulpulé said. However, average prices received by Australian exporters will be reduced by a stronger Australian dollar.

Unit export returns for minerals and energy resources, in aggregate, are forecast to decline by 1.6 per cent in 1999-2000. World prices for crude oil and most metals are forecast to increase, but the effects will be offset largely by lower contract prices for coal and iron ore.

For the commodity sector as a whole, unit export returns are forecast to fall by 2.6 per cent in 1999-2000, compared with a decline of 6.0 per cent in 1998-99.

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