12/03/2009 - 13:45

Commodity export earnings up 9%

12/03/2009 - 13:45

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Australia's export earnings from energy and mineral resources increased by 9 per cent to a record $47 billion in the 2008 December quarter, according to lastest statistics from ABARE.

Commodity export earnings up 9%

Australia's export earnings from energy and mineral resources increased by 9 per cent to a record $47 billion in the 2008 December quarter, according to lastest statistics from ABARE.

"The record earnings reflect high contract prices for bulk commodities, coupled with a depreciation of the Australian dollar," ABARE executive director Phillip Glyde said on releasing the Australian Mineral Statistics report report.

Mr Glyde noted that the recent collapse in commodity prices had been offset by a 24 per cent depreciation of the Australian dollar, increased export volumes of some commodities and stable iron ore and coal contract prices which would not be reset until April 2009.

The index of export prices of Australian energy and mineral resources increased by 15 per cent in the December quarter. The energy export price index increased by 21 per cent and prices for metals and related minerals increased by 11 per cent. The increase in prices is largely a result of the depreciation of the Australian dollar.

Commodities which recorded significant increases in export earnings in the December quarter included: uranium oxide, up $98 million (66 per cent) to $246 million; nickel, up $174 million (63 per cent) to $452 million; liquefied natural gas (LNG), up $1.3 billion (61 per cent) to $3.4 billion; thermal coal, up $2.0 billion (52 per cent) to $5.7 billion; diamonds, up $53 million (48 per cent) to $163 million; and alumina, up $458 million (30 per cent) to $2 billion.

Commodities which recorded large declines in export earnings in the September quarter included: manganese ore and concentrate, down $475 million (66 per cent) to $243 million; bauxite, down $16 million (22 per cent) to $58 million; zinc, down $123 million (20 per cent) to $504 million; refined petroleum products, down $17 million (8 per cent) to $184 million; copper, down $116 million (6 per cent) to $1.7 billion; and iron ore and pellets, down $440 million (5 per cent) to $9.1 billion.

Production of Australia's major mineral and energy commodities was mixed during the quarter. Increases in coal, crude oil and natural gas production were offset by lower outputs of iron ore, copper and nickel.

Earlier this month, ABARE forecast commodity export earnings to fall by 17 per cent in the 2010 financial year to $162 billion.

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