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Australia’s export earnings at record $190 billion in 2011

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Australia’s resources and energy export earnings increased to a record $190 billion in 2011, according to a new report. This is a 15 percent jump from the previous year, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics report reveals. "The record value of resources and energy exports in 2011 reflects increased earnings for the vast majority of resources and energy commodities," said Professor Quentin Grafton, Executive Director of the Bureau. The index of unit returns of Australian exports for mineral resources increased by 14 percent in 2011, with export prices for metals and other minerals up by 9 percent. Export unit returns for energy commodities last year went up by 20 percent. This increase in export values for resources and energy commodities was moderated by the appreciation of the Australian dollar, which averaged US$1.03 in 2011. Iron ore recorded a 20 percent increase in export earnings, while thermal coal and LNG went up by 18 percent and 16 percent respectively. Exports of crude oil and other refinery feedstock also went up, increasing 12 percent to $12.3 billion. However, a number of commodities recorded significant decreases in export values last year. Iron and steel went down by 22 percent, liquefied petroleum gas by 10 percent, and refined silver 39 percent. Australian production of energy and mineral resources in 2011 had mixed results, with increases in production of iron ore, copper and nickel offset by a lower output of coal and oil. Grafton believes natural disasters played a part in the decrease in output. "Coal production was affected by flooding in Queensland in early 2011," he said. Disruptions due to cyclones and floods during the March quarter affected Australia’s crude oil and condensate production. Meanwhile, the 13 percent increase in production of iron ore to 488 million tonnes was supported by the new start up in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

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