According to government forecaster ABARE (the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics), this was up 8%, or $1.6 billion, on the previous quarter.
In the March quarter’s Australian Mineral Statistics report, ABARE revealed coking coal was one of the commodities with the largest increases in export earnings in the December quarter of 2005, of $363 million.
Copper was up $395 million and iron ore and pellets were up $366 million.
Other commodities that recorded significant increases in export earnings were zinc (up $200 million); alumina (up $155 million); liquefied natural gas (up $145 million); aluminium (up $139 million); and lead (up $103 million).
ABARE executive director Dr Brian Fisher said the increased earnings reflected significant increases in export volumes.
However, export prices rose by only 2.6% in the December quarter compared with rises of 21% and 7% in the June and September quarters, cited as evidence the heat is going out of the mineral resources boom, Dr Fisher said.
Export earnings for steaming coal decreased during the quarter, as well as for crude oil, LPG and nickel.