HIGH commodity prices for grains and oilseeds are driving continued strength in rural exports, figures released by the Australia Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences revealed on Tuesday.
The September quarter agricultural commodities update showed a 1% decline in rural exports year on year, but overall long term strength on five-year trends.
The report found export earnings from agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors were forecast to be around $38.9 billion in 2012-13.
Despite the 1% decline, the latest figures were still about 21% higher then the five-year average.
Crop exports were expected to remain at a high of $21 billion in 2012-13, on the back of the bumper winter grain crop and high prices for grains and oilseed exports.
Livestock export earnings were forecast to be around $14.2 billion, compared with an estimated $14.7 billion in 2011-12.
Although livestock export prices were forecast to be weaker, the strength in that sector would be offset by higher volumes in export shipments.
Wheat export earnings were expected to grow 15%, rice up 6% and grain sorghum up 19% for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
For forest and fisheries products, export earnings in 2012-13 are forecast to rise by 5.2% and 4.6% to $2.3 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively.