Coal a champ for Aussie export earnings

HIGHER contract prices for thermal and metallurgical coal in the first nine months of the 2009 financial year helped push Australia’s export earnings to a record high.
Coal a champ for Aussie export earnings Coal a champ for Aussie export earnings Coal a champ for Aussie export earnings Coal a champ for Aussie export earnings Coal a champ for Aussie export earnings

Metallurgical coal prices, ended June quarter 2009. Courtesy ABARE.

Angie Tomlinson

In 2008-09, Australia’s export earnings from mineral resources increased by 37% to a record $159.7 billion, according to new statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

“The record earnings reflect a 16 per cent depreciation of the Australian dollar and higher contract prices for bulk commodities in the first nine months of the financial year,” ABARE deputy executive director Dr Terry Sheales said.

The energy export price index increased by 68%, mainly reflecting higher coal contract prices.

There were significant increases in export earnings for metallurgical coal, up 129% to $36.7 billion, and thermal coal, up 114% to $17.9 billion.

Australian production of energy and mineral commodities declined over the year, with the index of mine production falling by 1%.

“In particular, production of nickel, iron and steel, zinc, gold and black coal declined in 2008-09,” Sheales said.

The drop in production came from sliding metallurgical coal output in Queensland. Production in New South Wales remained steady.

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