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Tuesday, 4 September 2018

All about the base metals

Record profits

With retail turnover coming in stone dead flat for the month of July in seasonally adjusted terms it was inevitable that this would steal yesterday's headlines.

Underneath the hood, though, was some solid news.

The Reserve Bank reported that commodity prices jumped by 14.1 per cent over the year to August in Aussie dollar terms, mainly thanks to LNG, coking coal, and alumina. 

Quite a windfall in the post then, as mining profits surged 22 per cent higher year-on-year in the June quarter, in turn sending company profits in Australia soaring to their highest level on record. 

A tidy Budget booster there, with the tax revenues flowing in abundance. 

Echo boomlet

Something I've talked about a bit in recent times is the prospect of a commodities echo-boom in Australia, with existing projects requiring renewed exploration and drilling to reinvigorate, augment, or sustain reserves.

The mineral exploration figures reported yesterday showed trend exploration spend surging 29 per cent higher year-on-year. 

I didn't expect this to be reported anywhere, but over at the Courier Mail me old mucker Macca stopped just tantalisingly short of calling a new resources boom, though it's starting to look like one in some parts. 

All about the base

Drilling down a level, if that's not too woeful a pun, the recent increase in exploration has been driven by gold and especially base metals, with nearly $½ billion spent over the financial year (up from just $271 million in FY2017). 

This is good news for New South Wales and Queensland, but outstanding news for Western Australia.

Annual growth in the total wages and salaries bill was reasonable if unspectacular at +4.5 per cent, driven largely by employment growth.

If you're interested in more detailed analysis of business indicators check out the Macro View blog - James Foster is a Brisbane market analyst extraordinaire...half man, half machine.