A whole bunch of stuff is happening in the mining industry that suggests that the good times are on their way... So the bank employed 'economists' start getting us all primed for a rise in rates.
You always know when things are good the moment when banks start banging on about 'rate hikes'. Some dude at the UBS, with 'Chief Economist' in his title, was going on in the AFR yesterday about economic growth being so strong that we are 'rate hike territory'.
It's a cute tactic on the behalf of the banks to wheel out these guys prior to stinging us more for our home loans. It's almost like our combined successes and hard work, which create economic growth – are to 'blame' for the banks begrudgingly raising their rates. Provided it comes from the 'economists' mouth – we all suck our teeth and get back to work. If it came from some PR maven in a suit it would likely sh&t everyone off. Economists are like a public relations beard.
So, while you're getting ready to start shelling out pineapples on your car/boat/house – take a minute to reflect on the amazing new developments of January – which suggests that our industry is on the up and up and that there is more work on the way for everyone.
Mining Jobs on the Rise in WA.
Just when you thought the resources boom was behind us, according to the Western Australian, demand in WA's mining and resources employment market has hit its highest level in nearly two years. Aussie miners had some tough years in 2014 and 2015 but figures released this week by employment agency DFP Recruitment in its January Mining and Resources Job Index showed WA was the primary driver of resources sector job growth over the past quarter, up 10.9%.
Western Australia's share of the national resources and mining job market in January had hit its highest level in nearly a year, with a 49.7% slice. Several massive Goldfields projects have helped boost employment over the last year, including a planned extension by Gold Fields at St Ives and BHP Billiton’s renewed commitment to Nickel West. On top of this, the Department of Mines and Petroleum figures show a rise in drilling and exploration licence applications in WA over the past 12 months.
Engineering Jobs on the Up & Up.
Engineers are still struggling on a national scale, however, the profession is looking a lot brighter after opportunities grew for its fifth consecutive month, up 10.4% in January. Mining and petroleum engineering positions grew 21.6% in January, although demand is still a third of what it was at the end of the mining boom. Mining services were up slightly in January after recording a slump in December. Ms Duncan has indicated that the market for drillers, electrical trades and labourers were still slow to respond but would improve as new projects kick off.
Mining Exporters Just Had Their Best Year Ever.
It is, however, looking 'slightly optimistic' all over the country. Mining companies Australia-wide have delivered their best year ever in 2016, according to The Australian newspaper, exporting $13.4 billion worth of resources. This surpassed the previous record of $12.4 billion set in 2013 when resource prices were much higher.
Iron Ore Prices Surging... and Surging...
Iron Ore has surged in pricing recently, cracking the $90 per tonne, defying market expectations. The Federal Government had forecast iron ore prices to average $US55 a tonne in 2016-2017. This is partly due to a number of low-quality iron ore mining operations shutting down in China, opening up the market for high-quality iron ore exported from Australia.
The current high prices are expected to add billions of dollars in tax receipts for the federal and state governments – not to mention instil enough confidence in the industry to start production, prospecting and hopefully building new mines.
Iron ore is/was WA's highest value commodity, worth more than $48 billion or around 71 per cent of total mineral sales, boosted 5 per cent during the financial year by production starting at the Roy Hill project. This further reinforces WA"s position as the world's largest exporter of iron ore, with sales volumes reaching 756 million tonnes, up from 719 million tonnes in 2014–15.
The economy, jobs and business confidence is blowing up (according to another Economist Bank dude).
Australian business conditions and confidence soared in January, according to the latest business survey from the National Australia Bank, suggesting the domestic economy is strengthening – rapidly – following the announcement of backwards growth and warning of an impending recession in September.
And there are signs that Australia’s workforce opportunities are growing, with the employment index at its highest level since 2011.
NSW is still dominating all the indicators, as the streets remained paved with gold, and spurred on by infrastructure investment.
Anyway – don't let the bank grinches steal our thunder. Our industry is improving and everyone has reason to hope that the boom will be back.