Australia’s booming export industries


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IBISWorld has uncovered Australia’s top five fastest growing export industries.

The rice growing industry saw the highest export growth in the five years to 2105-16, expanding by 29.5% with the total value of exports in 2015-16 reaching $380.7 million. IBISWorld says by 2020-21, the value of rice exports is anticipated to rise to $468.1 million.

“Rice exports have been volatile over the past five years due to mixed demand, price movements and the reliance on water,” says Jem Anning, IBISWorld senior industry analyst.

“However, Australian rice growers have benefitted from rising demand from Japan since 2011-12, when the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred.”

Seafood processing posted the second highest export growth rate in the five years to 2015-16, up 27.3% with the total value of exports in 2015-16 reaching $1 billion.

According to IBISWorld, rising imports have encouraged domestic seafood producers to focus on exports by capitalising on growing economic prosperity and rising disposable incomes in many Asian nations.

Vietnam is the major recipient of Australia’s seafood exports (particularly rock lobster and abalone) – representing 62.6% of total exports.

“Australian produce is perceived to be of higher quality and many Asian markets are prepared to pay a premium for produce such as Bluefin tuna and rock lobster, increasing revenue over the period,” added says Anning.

The grape growing industry recorded 26.6% growth in the five years to 2015-16, with a total export value of $285 million. Asia is also one of the largest markets for exported fresh grapes

“Local grape producers have experienced a notable upturn in exports due to trade agreements signed in 2014 and 2015,” says Anning.

“The free trade agreement with South Korea lifted tariffs on imported Australian fresh grapes and the Japanese and Chinese agreements will gradually remove tariffs over the next seven and four years, respectively.”

Other notable export growth industries include cider production (up 25.8% in the five years to 2015-16, with valued exports at $16.5 million in 2015-16).

So too, the vitamin and supplement manufacturing industry, which saw growth of 13.2% in the five years to 2015-16, with the value of exports in 2015-16 reaching $365 million.

IBISWorld says the growth in exports is likely the result of the two major manufacturers, Swisse and Blackmores, continuing to expand into Asia, encouraged by healthy overseas demand.

“Over the next five years, exports are forecast to gain a larger proportion of industry revenue as the lower Australian dollar makes it cheaper to export products made here,” says Anning.

“Asian markets, particularly China, are expected to offer significant growth opportunities for Australian products, valued for their quality, as the burgeoning middle class consumes more imported goods and focuses on greater health awareness.”


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