Adelaide’s booming economy has boosted its exports but some parts of the country are still struggling to keep pace with the rise of the world’s fastest-growing economy.
The capital’s biggest export sector, cement, is growing by 7.2 per cent in the past year, but imports of the mineral are down 2.5 per cent, according to data from the Australia Institute.
But the number of new export orders for cement, a key component of cement and cement products, has fallen by more than half in the same period.
It is a stark contrast to the growth in the second biggest export industry, coal, which has been surging by 20 per cent.
In the past three years, the value of cement exports has risen by a staggering $2.6 billion.
“We’ve just had a boom in cement and we’ve just seen a drop off in cement imports,” Dr Daniel Gartland, an economist at the Australian National University’s Centre for Policy Studies, told the ABC.
Gartland said the fall in imports was the result of the Australian Government’s “unusually high” interest rates, which are the lowest in the world.
Cement is a key part of the cement industry in South Australia, but the industry is facing a lack of supply as demand for the product is falling.
Australian Cement Association CEO David Wilson said there were concerns about the viability of the sector and the impact it was having on communities.
“We’re seeing the impact of the current drought, we’re seeing it in the community, and we’re also seeing the effects of the high interest rates on the industry and on communities,” he said.
“I think that the more we talk about it, the more people realise that cement is a very important industry in this country.”
Gartlands said cement is the single largest export industry in the state and was expected to be one of the top five exports in 2018.
However, the downturn in cement was seen across all industries, with the construction industry particularly hard hit, with its exports down 12.3 per cent this year.
According to the Australia Industry report released last week, the construction sector is forecast to contract by 4.2 percent this year, which is the worst annual contraction since the 2008 global financial crisis.
“The sector has been affected by a number of factors, including the recent global financial crash, but cement is not one of them,” Wilson said.
Despite the downturn, cement is still the second largest export sector in South Australian and is expected to grow by 3.9 per cent next year.
Topics:business-economics-and-finance,government-and.parliament,australiaFirst posted January 25, 2019 13:00:49Contact Anna FrielMore stories from South Australia