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WA exports to Asia down

WESTERN Australian exports to South-East Asia fell 30.6 per cent in the three months to April, compared with the same period last year.

By contrast, State Treasury figures reveal WA exports to North-East Asian countries rose by 44.6 per cent, helped by a 138.5 per cent increase to Hong Kong.

Exports to the four North-East Asian nations – South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong – were worth $2,300 million compared with $3,300 million for the G-7 countries.

Of the G-7 group, WA exports were less than the corresponding period last year to only one nation, France, while they rose by 216.5 per cent to Canada.

Although exports to Japan increased by only 2.8 per cent, these made up 58 per cent of all WA exports to G-7 nations.

Iron ore exports were worth $1,200 million, while live animal exports, which increased by 49 per cent were valued at only $87 million.

Compared with the corresponding period in 2000, wheat and crustaceans were the only commodities exports to drop, each by 26 per cent.

Gold made up 58 per cent of WA exports to Singapore, 15 per cent to South Korea and Malaysia, and 12 per cent to Taiwan.

WA exports alumina to the G-7 group and north and south-east Asia. Although a big ticket item, alumina exports are deemed “commercially sensitive” and are hence classified as “confidential items” in treasury figures.

However, such items for both China and Indonesia were worth $276.8 million and $102.5 million respectively in the three months to April. With smelters in both countries, alumina is sure to account for most of each total, representing 28 per cent and 72 per cent of all WA imports for the two countries.

Alcoa exported almost six million tonnes of alumina annually, worth a total of $1.7 billion.

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