Column: Resource-rich Australia shows vagaries of any commodity supercycle

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) by Clyde Russell – For those seeking evidence of a new commodity supercycle, and for the sceptics of a sustained boom in natural resources, Australia’s government forecaster has it covered. The government’s latest Resources and Energy Quarterly report, released on Monday, illustrates how some commodities surged during last year’s coronavirus pandemic, and also how the gains weren’t across the board and may not be easy to sustain. The media-grabbing headline of the report was that the nation’s resource and energy exports are set to reach a record A$296 billion ($226 billion) in the fiscal year to June 30, 2021. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of iron ore, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coking coal used to make steel. It ranks second behind Indonesia for thermal coal and third in shipments of copper ore, and is a major producer of both aluminium and alumina, the raw material used to make the refined metal. Australia is also the world’s third-largest gold producer and the biggest net exporter of the precious metal, and is a top supplier of battery metals such as nickel and lithium. The stellar performance for the country’s resource sector this fiscal year was largely driven… continue reading

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