Article – Export income set to rise

by 23 July 2014

14 July 2014
Hailey Renault
North West Star

AS CONFIDENCE builds for Queensland’s export industries, the slump in copper prices this year is forecast to continue.

This is despite Townsville-based Senator Ian Macdonald saying statistics released by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics yesterday on Australia’s energy exports provided further proof of Northern Australia’s contribution to the nation’s wealth.

Export income is expected to rise in 2014-15 off the back of growth in iron ore and LNG exports.

“This is a further positive sign that our resources and energy boom is far from over as major projects transition from the construction to the production phase,” Senator Macdonald said.

“Australia is in a very strong position to help meet increasing demand driven by the exploding middle classes of the Asia-Pacific region.”

However, it’s not all good news for the North West producers supplying demand for heavy metals.

The price of copper continues to frustrate Australian producers and BREE’s latest quarterly report predicted the decline in demand from China, along with the fall in price, was likely to continue into 2015.

“For the full year, copper prices are forecast to average US $6822 tonne in 2014, a decrease of almost 7 per cent from 2013,” the report stated.

“The growth in supply from recently started mines is expected to outpace consumption growth in 2015 and push prices to lower levels.

‘‘The average copper price is forecast to decrease further an average US$6643 a tonne, 2.6percent lower than 2014.”

BREE blames China’s slowing economic growth, a lull in housing and infrastructure investment and increased availability of copper supply for keeping prices low in 2014.

CuDECO’s Rocklands mine in Cloncurry is also expected to add to a forecasted boost in Australian copper production in 2015 when it reached full production. Refined copper purchases were propelled this year by a high demand in Asia for electronics and materials for the electronic goods and technology industry in China.

The BREE report said an increase in refined copper production in Australia in 2013-14 was largely due to CST Mining’s Lady Annie SX-EW processing facility (20,000 tonnes a year), 120km north west of Mount Isa, reaching full production.

Courtesy of the North West Star

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