$1.6b boost to exports thanks to soaring coal prices
SIGNIFICANT increases in the value of hard-coking coal and LNG exports have helped drive a $1.6billion increase in Queensland's overseas merchandise exports over the year to November quarter 2016.
Acting treasurer Bill Byrne said this represented a 12.4 per cent nominal value increase in the period.
"In the 12 months to November, the value of Queensland's exports totalled $49.5 billion, what this shows is the significance of Queensland as a major global exporter of key resources and agricultural products," Mr Byrne said.
Mr Byrne said despite the LNP's negativity and talking down of the state economy, Queensland is forecast to record the strongest economic growth in the nation and a lower unemployment rate than when the LNP were in office.
"Under the Palaszczuk Government our state's economy has turned the corner and we are working every day to build more confidence in Queensland's future after the failure of Tim Nicholls as Treasurer in the Newman Government," Mr Byrne said.
"However we recognise not all sectors or regions are making the transition to a post-mining boom economy as well as others and we will continue our financially responsible efforts to stimulate more growth and jobs across our state."
Mr Byrne said higher coal contract prices are expected to support further growth in export values in coming months, but are not expected to be sustained in the longer term with hard-coking coal spot prices falling in early January 2017.
"Queensland Treasury estimates that LNG exports increased $728 million over the year to November quarter 2016 to $1.9 billion," Mr Byrne said.
"The final two LNG production trains commenced exports out of Gladstone during 2016, meaning there are now six production trains on-line.
"As a result, LNG exports are expected to drive strong economic growth of 4 per cent in 2016-17."
Mr Byrne said crops exports increased $136 million over the year to November quarter 2016, to a total of $662 million.
"The value of cotton exports increased by $17 million to $150 million driven by an increase in export volumes," he said.
"Looking ahead, Queensland's crops exports are expected to increase in the coming year, following recent improvements in weather resulting in ideal planting conditions.
"There are forecasts for chickpea production to reach a record high in 2016-17, while a significant increase in the supply of irrigation water and record winter rainfall in parts of Queensland is expected to lead farmers to switch from planting sorghum to cotton, which offers a higher return."
The Acting Treasurer said an improvement in weather conditions may also assist beef farmers to rebuild their herds, however this is expected to be gradual.
"Overall meat exports fell over the year to November quarter 2016 to be worth $1.2 billion, driven by a decline in the volume of beef exports," Mr Byrne said.
"Minerals exports fell $447 million over the year to November quarter 2016, to $2.0 billion, with the decline reflecting falls in the value of all major mineral exports."
"While zinc and lead production has fallen over the past year, a strong recovery in zinc prices over 2016 appears to have encouraged additional supply, with Glencore's zinc production rising 13 per cent in September quarter 2016 compared to the June quarter.
"Aluminium and copper were the only major mineral exports to record an increase in export volumes over the year, although not enough to offset the decline in export prices."