Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Here comes LNG

Exports ramp up

It's evident that the value of Australia's commodity exports has been on the rise again.

In fact, year-on-year, the January result for merchandise exports was fully 33 per cent higher than a year ago.

The month of December in particular produced a giant result with $28.3 billion of merchandise exports being some 38 per cent higher than a year previously, and the single biggest monthly aggregate we have seen on this data series. 

Good, bad, & a bit ugly

Smoothing the figures on a rolling annual basis helps to move out some of the noise. 

It also becomes clear that not every sector has been performing all that well. 

The meat and live exports trade has taken quite a hit, for example, while oil exports are still trying gamely to battle their way back from a shock correction to the commodity price.

Helping to offset this pharmaceuticals exports to Asia have been on a good run. 

Smoothing the figures on an annual basis also helps to show that while some commodities have had good and bad years in percentage terms, the increase in the dollar value of exports has really been driven by Australia's four 'big ticket' commodities: iron ore, coal, gold, and LNG.

Here comes LNG

We can also see that the value of LNG exports is rapidly becoming a significant factor for Australia's national income.

In January, LNG exports totalled more than $2 billion for the first time, as compared to less than $1 billion for gold exports. 

In fact, from last year LNG has accounted for a considerably greater share (8.8 per cent) of the Reserve Bank of Australia's Index of Commodity Prices than gold (7.1 per cent).

It has been forecast, somewhat bullishly, that the value of LNG exports from Australia could more than double to $36 billion in 2017.

More than $200 billion has been invested in Australian LNG projects over the past decade, with a massive ramp up in production now to follow over the next five years, which will in turn be a significant boost both real and nominal GDP growth.

I expect to see this reflected in an increasing trade surplus in Queensland, a state which following a very harsh downturn in resources construction from 2014 through 2016 is seeing its overall economic outlook improve at a better pace than the other resources states. 


An oil rig, granted - and it's in the North Sea actually - but, hey, I liked the photo.