Coal drops with the crowd

AUSTRALIA’S export earnings from resources dropped in the March quarter with coal no exception, according to ABARE’s latest statistics.
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Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal. Courtesy Prime Infrastructure.

Angie Tomlinson

Overall export earnings from energy and mineral resources declined by 18% to $A38.7 billion in the March quarter 2009.

Export earnings for metallurgical coal were down 39% to $4.9 billion.

Export unit values for metallurgical coal declined 18% reflecting increased volumes sold at discount contract prices.

Export unit values for thermal coal declined 11% over the period, reflecting lower spot prices.

Export earnings for thermal coal fell 13% to $5 billion.

Overall, production of saleable and raw black coal decreased during the March quarter and exports fell by 14% to 58 million tonnes.

Underground raw coal production for the quarter was 20.78Mt, compared to 25.1Mt in the December 2008 quarter, 26.9Mt in the September quarter and 29.2Mt in the June quarter.

“The decrease in export earnings reflects softer world prices and lower export volumes for most commodities,” ABARE executive director Phillip Glyde said.

Gold was the only major commodity to have had higher export volumes and prices in the March quarter.

Commodities such as metallurgical coal, crude oil, copper and liquefied natural gas experienced significant declines in export values.

Production of the majority of Australia’s major mineral and energy commodities was lower during the quarter.

Increases in iron ore, refined gold and refined nickel production were offset by lower output of coal, crude oil and condensate, natural gas and copper.