(EnergyAsia, March 28, Friday) — Australia’s earnings from commodity exports including oil, natural gas and coals are forecast to increase by 30% to a record A$189 billion in the 2008 financial year starting June 30. (US$1=A$1.05).

But over the medium term, the value of those exports (in 2007-08 dollar terms) is projected to fall to A$176 billion in 2012-13.

This and other commodity projections out to 2012-13 are contained in the March quarter issue of the Australian Commodities report published by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).

“The growth in export earnings forecast for 2008-09 mainly reflects increased shipments of iron ore, coal, gold, LNG, grains and oilseeds in response to strong demand in overseas markets,” said Phillip Glyde, ABARE’s executive director.

The total value of minerals and energy exports is forecast to rise by 33% to a record A$153 billion in 2008-09, following a forecast rise of 7% to A$115 billion in the current year.

In 2008-09, iron ore is forecast to be Australia’s largest export commodity (in value terms), followed by metallurgical coal, thermal coal, gold and crude oil. Australia’s largest agricultural export commodity (in value terms) is wheat, ranked 10th overall in commodity export earnings.

Under an assumption of average seasonal conditions, the value of farm exports is forecast to be A$31 billion in 2008-09, an 18% increase on the previous year. Export earnings are forecast to increase for grains and oilseeds, cotton, sugar, wine, beef and veal, lamb and most dairy products.

Mr Glyde noted that if grain growing areas, particularly in southern Australia, receive a good autumn seasonal break, there is a very good chance of a bumper winter grains crops in 2008-09. Given reasonable seasonal conditions, some sheep flock and cattle herd rebuilding is expected to occur in 2008-09.