Positive outlook for Australian agricultural exports

Positive outlook for Australian agricultural exports

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Australia’s agricultural export earnings have been forecast to remain strong in 2013 despite a slight dip in previous expectations.

Export earnings from the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors could be around AU$38.9bn in 2012-2013, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES). The figures do forecast a 1% decline in exports, but ABARES said it was still higher than the average over the previous five years.

Executive director of ABARES Paul Morris said: “Despite a slowdown in world income growth, Australia’s rural exports are expected to remain strong. This is largely reflected by continued demand growth in the Asian region and markedly higher export prices for grains and oilseeds.”

A current forecast of farm exports is set at AU$35.2bn for the duration of this year and into next year. However, this is slightly lower than a recent high of AU$35.9bn in the previous year. Morris said: “At this forecast level, the value of farm exports in 2012–13 will be around 24% higher than the partly drought–affected average of AU$28.4bn in the five years ending 2010–11.”

The forecast of crop exports is also set to remain high at AU$21bn for this year and next, which ABARES said was supported by the export of the “bumper 2011-2012 winter grain crop”​ and the higher world prices of grains and oilseeds.

Livestock export earnings have also been forecast to be around AU$14.2bn, which is slightly lower than the AU$14.7bn estimated in 2011-2012. Export prices for livestock and livestock products are also forecast to be generally weaker and the impact this could have on export earnings is expected to be mostly offset by an increase in export shipments.

Export earnings from farm commodities are also forecast to increase in the next year and ABARES said wheat will rise by 15%, rice by 6%, grain sorghum 19%, wine 1% and sheep meat by 3%.

Forest and fisheries products are also forecast to rise by 5.2% and 4.6% to AU$2.3bn and AU$1.3bn respectively.

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