Core arguments and facts of the 2018 Benchmark Report: Dynamic Industries
08 Feb 2018
- Benchmark Report
- Australian Economy
Following my previous post, where I discussed the topic of
Robust Growth, I want to look in more detail at another key strength of Australia
highlighted in the
– Dynamic Industries.
Australia is a globally successful provider of goods and services in five
key industries that are in high demand. Our vast mineral endowment together
with our productive efficiency and cutting edge, innovative support
industries allow Australia to remain at the forefront of the minerals
sector globally. We are also a major producer of clean, green agricultural
commodities and premium food. In financial services, Australia has one of
the Asia-Pacific region’s largest pools of bank assets, as well as
significant wealth management and infrastructure financing expertise. And
Australia has been rated as a highly attractive destination for education
Leader in Energy and Resources.
With large reserves of mineral and energy resources, Australia is a
world-leading producer of gold, iron ore and uranium, and will soon be
the world’s largest LNG exporter. The country was also ranked in the
world’s top 15 for solar and wind generation as at 2014 . Australia’s abundant resources and proximity to Asia underpin our
position as a major global exporter of mineral and energy resources and
products. From 2001–02 to 2016–17, the country’s total energy and
resources exports are estimated to have increased more than three and a
half-times to over A$200 billion, with the majority of these exports
going to Asia. Steady growth in the export volume of most bulk
commodities is expected to contribute to higher export earnings over
the outlook period (see chart below).
Clean, Green Agricultural Commodities.
Australia is a major global producer of beef, wheat, wool, barley,
wine, sugar, canola, lamb, chickpeas and raw cotton. Demand for
Australia’s clean and green agricultural commodities drives the
country’s export trade in high-value branded premium products. Our food
and fibre exports were worth A$45 billion in 2016, with nine of the top
10 destination markets (62 per cent of total food exports) in the Asian
region (see chart below). According to the Brookings
Institution, the number of
middle-class consumers in the region
is forecast to grow to approximately 3.5 billion (65 per cent of the
world’s total) by 2030 .
Australia’s proximity to Asia and reputation as a safe and reliable source
of quality produce and premium products ensure the country is well placed
to capitalise on this growth.
Strong Financial Markets.
Financial services is another sector where Australia has strong
capabilities. It has one of the Asian region’s largest pools of bank
assets, significant wealth management and infrastructure financing
skills, and a growing reputation for fintech expertise. Australia has
the world’s fourth largest alternative assets under
management, sixth largest managed fund assets pool, eighth largest OTC foreign-exchange daily turnover, ninth largest stock market, and tenth
largest debt securities (see chart below). The managed funds
sector is underpinned by a mandated retirement savings scheme
(superannuation system) that has resulted in the fourth largest pension
pool in the world.
Total assets of Australia’s financial markets as of June 2017 were
estimated to be almost A$8 trillion – over four and a half times the
country’s nominal GDP. The sector has grown on average 9.6 per cent a year
over the past two decades, well above the average nominal GDP growth rate
of 5.9 per cent.
The strength of the financial industry means it is Australia’s largest
contributor to gross value added, one of its highest growth sectors and a
significant source of capital.
Global Education Hub. Australia is the third most popular destination in the world for
foreign students enrolled in higher education. Australia attracted over
550,000 international students in 2016, including to higher education,
vocational education and training (see chart below).
International education contributes over A$26 billion to the Australian
economy each year, with both student numbers and export value in their
third consecutive year of double-digit growth.
Significant Tourism Industry.
Australia is the world’s
largest international tourism market
with a 2.6 per cent share of global tourism receipts in 2016, according to
the UNWTO. The country benefits more from the contribution of tourism
receipts to its GDP than nations such as the USA, France, the UK and Italy
(see chart below). In 2016–17 Australia experienced record inbound
tourism expenditure, driven by strong growth from China, Japan, India,
Malaysia, Hong Kong SAR and other Asian countries. Collectively, the
tourism expenditure of the top 10 Asian markets grew by eight per cent to
A$22 billion – over half of Australia’s tourism receipts. The outlook to
2026–27 remains robust, with overseas visitor real spending expected to
rise by 6.7 per cent a year to reach A$76 billion. China, India, Japan and
other Asian nations are forecast to represent around three-quarters of this
growth  .
 Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics,
Australian Energy Projections to 2049–50
, Canberra, November 2014
, Table 10: Electricity generation by energy type (TWh); IEA, International Energy Statistics.
 The Brookings Institution,
the Unprecedented Expansion of the Global Middle Class: An Update
, Page 13, Table 2.
 Willis Towers Watson
Pension Assets Study 2017.
 Reserve Bank of Australia Statistics,
B1 Assets of Financial Institutions
(updated 3 October 2017); ABS, Cat. No. 5655.0 Managed Funds, Australia, June 2017, Table 1 (released 7 September
 Tourism Research Australia, Tourism Forecasts 2017, Tables A1 and A12 (released 2 August 2017).