Paul Osborne
(Australian Associated Press)

Australia’s resources and energy exports are expected to hit $334 billion in the next financial year, a new study shows.

The federal industry department’s Resources and Energy Quarterly report released on Monday said commodity prices had gained momentum in the first half of 2021.

Iron ore, LNG, thermal coal and base metals have reached multi-year highs.

In 2020/21, Australia’s resources and energy exports are estimated to reach $310 billion, up more than six per cent on the record set in 2019/20.

This figure is forecast to rise to $334 billion in 2021/22.

Iron ore export earnings are estimated to rise by 45 per cent to $149 billion in 2020/21, accounting for almost half of Australia’s resources and energy exports.

Australian metallurgical coal miners are benefiting from a surge in world steel production.

Informal import restrictions by China have seen thermal coal miners pivot to other customers hit by the very cold northern hemisphere winter.

Thermal coal exports fell from 213 million tonnes in 2019/20 to a forecast 194 million tonnes in 2020/21, but are expected to recover to 212 million tonnes by 2022/23 as Asian economies recover.

Thermal coal export values are forecast to be $17 billion in 2021/22, down from $20 billion in 2019/20.

LNG export earnings are forecast to increase from an estimated $33 billion in 2020/21 to $49 billion in 2021/22.

However, an easing of global economic growth and softer prices are expected to result in total resources export earnings dropping to $304 billion in 2022/23.

“Australia’s energy and resources sector has remained safe and reliable suppliers to domestic and global markets throughout the pandemic, helping to underpin economic growth and overcome the challenging trade conditions of the past year,” Resources Minister Keith Pitt said.

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