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The Federal Government has issued advice suggesting that Australia’s resources and energy exports are expected to reach $299 billion in 2019–20, despite the economic shockwaves COVID-19 is sending around the world.

The statements were made in the March 2020 edition of Resources and Energy Quarterly (REQ), released by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER). 

While resources and energy exports are expected to reach $299 billion in 2019–20, they are tipped to ease back in subsequent years as some of the surprising price gains of recent quarters unwind. However, the possibility remains for new records to be set if prices continue to surprise on the upside. 

However, the outbreak of COVID-19 will have some effect on forecasts. It is assumed that this event will have an impact on Chinese and global GDP in the first half of 2020, with the effects largely playing out by June 2020, though at the time of writing, this remained a rapidly evolving issue.

In 2019–20, iron ore is expected to be the first commodity to top $100 billion in export earnings in a single year. 

A recent surge in gold mine investment is also expected to see Australia overtake China to become the world’s biggest gold producer in 2021. 

Massive investment in LNG saw Australia become the world’s largest gas exporter at points in 2019, and other commodities including copper, nickel and lithium hold strong prospects over the medium term.

According to the data, the value of Australia’s resources and energy export earnings are forecast to set a record $299 billion in 2019-20, up from $281 billion in 2018-19.

APPEA Chief Executive, Andrew McConville, said the data reminded Australians of the critical contribution of the oil and gas industry.

“At a time of great economic uncertainty arising from the current pandemic, Australia’s resources and energy exports are helping ensure that Australia has the financial ability to respond effectively and strongly,” Mr McConville said.

“Australia’s oil and gas industry is helping ensure we keep the lights on at home, and our hospitals and other public facilities operating, by continuing to deliver energy to the domestic market.”

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, said the (REQ) shows how resource and energy exports continue to support the Australian economy.

“The strength and diversity of Australia’s resource and energy commodities have allowed export earnings to overcome challenging world economic conditions — to the benefit of the Australian economy,” Mr Pitt said.

“With these types of numbers we are seeing that exploration expenditure is solid and that there is room for further growth. 

“The best thing that we as a Government can do is to remove any red and green tape that will stifle investment and ensure that our policy settings and actions for managing challenges like COVID-19 are right,” Mr Pitt said.

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