(EnergyAsia, September 27 2011, Tuesday) — Australia’s resources and energy commodity export earnings are forecast to rise by 21% to reach a record A$215 billion for financial year 2011, according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE). (US$1=A$0.97).

It issued this bullish forecast in the September edition of its Resources and Energy Quarterly report, citing expectations for continued strong prices and demand for the country’s main export commodities through to June 30 2012.

Quentin Grafton, the bureau’s executive director and chief economist, presented the following export earnings forecasts for the major commodities: iron ore to rise by 26% to A$68 billion, metallurgical coal by 29% to A$37 billion, gold by 47%t to A$19 billion), thermal coal by 29% to A$18 billion, crude oil and condensate by 13% to A$13 billion, and liquefied natural gas by 11% to A$12 billion.

In terms of volume, gold exports are expected to rise 12% to 338 tonnes, metallurgical coal 11% to 156 million tonnes, iron ore 10% to 449 million tonnes, thermal coal 8% to 155 million tonnes, and copper 12% to 950 000 tonnes.

“The increase in export volumes for many minerals and energy commodities reflects increased mine and infrastructure capacity, particularly for iron ore and coal,” said Professor Grafton.

However, prices for most commodities are forecast to ease on weakening economic growth in North America and Europe. Prices for iron ore, metallurgical and thermal coal, aluminum and nickel are forecast to decrease in 2012 compared with 2011.

“While prices for a number of commodities are forecast to ease in 2012, it should be noted that in some cases they are coming off record high levels and still indicate a very positive outlook for the industry,” said Professor Grafton.