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Australia Export Powerhouse: Top Stocks and ETF to Not Miss in 2024



Australia’s economic landscape is deeply intertwined with its export industry, a critical engine driving the nation’s growth and prosperity. Among its key exports, certain sectors stand out for their significance and potential impact on the economy.


In this article, we delve into Australia’s top exports for 2024, analysing trends and insights that we can exploit as investors, particularly in light of the potential economic rebound in China, our main trading partner. We will uncover three investment prospects to capitalise on the opportunities ahead at the end of this article.

 


Iron Ore


Iron ore remains Australia's undisputed champion export, with a staggering estimated worth of $119.9 billion in 2024. Over the past five years, iron ore miners have experienced substantial gains, driven by surging prices and modest production growth. However, projections indicate a slight dip in revenue for 2023-24, attributed to anticipated price falls. The Iron Ore Mining industry in Australia has witnessed remarkable growth, with revenue reaching an estimated $131.9 billion in 2024, marking a 5.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past five years. However, iron ore prices are set to moderate over the next five years, following recent price spikes driven by supply constraints.



Production Growth and Price Rises: Australian iron ore production has steadily increased, with China’s rapid industrialization fuelling demand. However, projections suggest a decline in revenue for 2023-24 due to anticipated price falls.


China's Reopening: As the world's largest iron ore consumer, China's economic rebound is expected to drive global demand for iron ore, benefiting Australian exporters.


 

Coal


Coal, vital for both steelmaking and energy generation, holds the second position among Australia's top exports, with an estimated market value of $91.7 billion in 2024. Despite significant revenue growth over the past five years, the industry faces challenges such as labour shortages and cost pressures. The Coal Mining industry in Australia has witnessed steady revenue growth, reaching an estimated $103.9 billion in the past year, representing a 2.2% CAGR over the past five years. However, we think that coal mining revenue may continue to fall as coal prices in global markets recede from recent highs.



Price Volatility: Energy commodity prices soared due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, driving up coal mining revenue. However, production challenges, including labour shortages, threaten profit margins.


Production Headwinds: Labour shortages and cost pressures pose significant challenges to Australian coal miners, potentially impacting profitability.

 


Oil and Gas


Australia's oil and gas industry has faced significant revenue volatility, influenced by global price fluctuations and demand dynamics. Despite this volatility, revenue reached an estimated $87.8 billion in 2024, with a 4.5% CAGR over the past five years. The Oil and Gas Extraction industry in Australia has experienced steady revenue growth, reaching an estimated $105.1 billion in 2024. While oil and gas prices are projected to remain elevated over the coming years due to underinvestment in new supply, prices are set to moderate from recent highs as global supply and demand conditions stabilise. Falling prices are set to weigh on oil and gas producer’s profit margins.



Rising Prices Amid Global Volatility: The Russia-Ukraine conflict has exacerbated supply constraints, driving up oil and gas prices globally. Australia's LNG export capacity has contributed to the industry's growth over the past decade.

 


Metals


Gold, a traditional safe-haven asset, remains a significant export for Australia, with industry revenue estimated at $34.9 billion in 2024. Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, higher gold prices and refined gold production volumes have positively impacted the industry. The Gold and Other Non-Ferrous Metal Processing industry in Australia has witnessed robust revenue growth, reaching an estimated $52.9 billion in 2023. Lithium hydroxide refiners are envisaged to significantly expand output going forward. Despite a dip in 2024-25, as gold and lithium prices ease, industry revenue is anticipated to improve as new lithium refineries come online.



Surging Gold Prices: Economic uncertainty and increased demand for safe-haven assets have propelled gold prices, benefiting Australia's gold industry.


Vertical Integration: Lithium hydroxide industry revenue has flourished as lithium miners integrate their operations, boosting industry revenue.

 

 

Grain


Australia's grain industry, export-oriented and highly sensitive to weather conditions and global prices, is valued at $25.7 billion in 2024. Despite revenue fluctuations, the industry has seen steady growth, with a 17.3% CAGR over the past five years. The Grain Growing industry in Australia has experienced significant revenue growth, reaching an estimated $27.7 billion in 2023. However, lower rainfall and less favourable growing conditions are expected to lead to lower crop yields and grain production.



Weather Conditions and Global Demand: Favourable weather conditions and rising per capita incomes in Asian countries have driven output growth and increased demand for Australian grain exports.


Supply Disruptions: The Russia-Ukraine conflict is expected to disrupt global grain supply, potentially driving further demand for Australian exports.

 

 

In light of the increasingly challenging economic landscape, where companies are contending with shrinking profit margins, the importance of meticulously choosing stocks with robust financials and fundamentals cannot be overstated.



Let's examine three investment opportunities:


 

If you seek to enhance your portfolio profitability in 2024, connect with us, as we are expanding our Wealth Management and Brokerage Services to help you outperform the market.


 

iShares China Large-Cap ETF AUD (ASX: IZZ)


Investing in Chinese stocks at the current juncture can be considered beneficial for several reasons. Firstly, Chinese stocks may reach a level where the market could be considered undervalued, indicating potential for capital appreciation as market prices adjust to reflect their true worth. Secondly, efforts by the Chinese government to diversify the economy away from reliance on real estate and infrastructure suggest long-term growth potential, offering investors a broader range of investment options. Thirdly, China's substantial GDP and large consumer base make it an attractive market for multinational companies seeking expansion, providing investors with opportunities for growth.

 

Moreover, despite economic challenges, current valuations of Chinese stocks are considered attractive, presenting potential for favourable returns. Lastly, while caution is warranted due to concerns such as deflation and declining indices, we are cautiously optimistic, acknowledging the perceived undervaluation of Chinese stocks and believing in their long-term potential. Overall, investing in Chinese stocks offers the chance to benefit from undervaluation, diversification efforts, market size, and attractive valuations.


 

Fenix Resources Limited (ASX: FEX)


Fenix Resources Ltd is a prominent Australian mineral exploration and mining company with a focus on iron ore, base metals, and precious metals. Operating primarily in Western Australia, Fenix's revenue stream is largely derived from iron ore mining, bolstered by its Iron Ridge Project and Trucking Joint Venture.

 

A recent strategic move by Fenix involves entering into a lucrative agreement with Gold Valley Iron Ore Pty Limited, wherein Fenix will provide comprehensive haulage logistics and port services for iron ore products from Gold Valley's Mid-West operations. This partnership not only diversifies Fenix's revenue streams but also underscores its ability to forge profitable collaborations within the industry. Central to Fenix's growth strategy is the development of an inland port at its Ruvidini Rail Siding property, enhancing logistical capabilities and operational efficiency. This infrastructure investment positions Fenix to capitalize on the growing demand for iron ore products in the Mid-West region, driving revenue growth and profitability.


Fenix stands out as a well-positioned player in the mineral exploration and mining industry, with strong growth prospects driven by strategic partnerships, and infrastructure investments. Since last year, FEX shares have gained more than 8%.


 

GrainCorp Limited (ASX: GNC)


GrainCorp Limited operates as a leading integrated grain and edible oils business primarily in East Coast Australia (ECA). Despite experiencing a dip in its financial performance from the previous fiscal year, GrainCorp expects to report FY24 Underlying Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) between $270 and $310 million, with Underlying Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) ranging from $65 to $95 million. These projections reflect a normalization of market conditions following historically high margins. The company's diversified operations, coupled with its strategic infrastructure and market expertise, position it well to navigate market dynamics and capitalize on growth opportunities. GrainCorp's resilience is evident in its ability to adapt to changing conditions while pursuing strategic initiatives aimed at long-term value creation. Despite facing challenges such as fluctuating crop yields and commodity prices, the company remains focused on optimizing operational efficiencies and expanding its market presence. Initiatives like the business and systems transformation program, aimed at streamlining internal operations, and collaborations in sustainable fuel production underscore GrainCorp's commitment to innovation and sustainability. Furthermore, the company's shareholder-focused approach is reflected in its planned share buy-back program, demonstrating its commitment to enhancing shareholder returns.

 

GrainCorp presents an attractive investment opportunity for investors seeking exposure to the agricultural sector. With its resilient business model, strategic initiatives, and commitment to shareholder value, GrainCorp is poised for sustainable growth and value creation in the long run. Since the past year, GNC shares have gained more than 16%.


 








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