RPT-Australia trims resources revenue outlook on weaker coal, LNG exports

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MELBOURNE, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Australia has pared its forecasts for mining and energy export revenue this year, as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and metallurgical coal earnings are forecast to be slightly weaker than earlier expected.

Total earnings from mining and energy exports are forecast to fall 12% in the year to June 2021 to A$256 billion ($180.71 billion) from a record high of A$290 billion a year earlier, the Department of Industry said in its latest quarterly report.

“In 2020-21, relatively weak resource and energy commodity prices — with the notable exception of gold and iron ore — and lower coal export volumes are expected to drive a sizable fall in export earnings,” the government said.

The forecast for 2020-21 is down A$7 billion from the government’s previous outlook in June because of weaker than expected energy exports and stronger than expected gains in the Australian dollar, it said.

Earnings from metallurgical coal are forecast to drop by a third to A$23 billion in 2020-21 on lower prices and weaker output from major miners. That is A$2 billion lower than the government’s previous outlook.

LNG revenue is expected to slump 35% to A$31 billion in 2020-21 from a year earlier. That is A$4 billion lower than the government’s previous forecast, partly due to problems at two of the country’s 10 LNG export projects.

Amid the collapse in global growth from the coronavirus pandemic, Australia’s resources earnings have been shored up by iron ore, helped by supply disruptions in Brazil caused by the pandemic and solid demand from China.

“There is little immediate prospect for a major change in these dynamics,” the government said.

It sees iron export earnings slipping to A$97 billion this year from last year’s record A$102 billion, with iron ore prices expected to fall from around $100 a tonne in the December quarter to around $80 a tonne by the end of 2021.

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