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Minerals drive exports record

THE value of Australia's exports have reached more than $300 billion for the first time in a single year, trade figures released on Wednesday show.

And the huge increase in exports, of $313.3 billion, or 10.2% in 2011, was largely driven by a 24.6% increase in mineral exports.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released its annual Composition of Trade report on Wednesday.

"The big story in Australia's commodity exports over the last decade was iron ore and coal," the report said.

"These two commodities have been the driving force in the huge growth in Australia's resources exports.

"Iron ore and coal accounted for 58.2% of total resource exports in 2011, with a combined value of $110.9 billion."

The record performance resulted in a trade surplus for 2011 of $18.3 billion, with mineral exports up to $86.7 billion on the back of rising iron ore and copper exports.

Coal exports grew 8.8% to $46.8 billion, with gold up 6.4% to $16 billion and personal travel services up 8.9% to $22.2 billion.

The nation on everyone's lips, China, was again Australia's largest two-way trade partner, at $121 billion followed by Japan at $72.5 billion and the United States at $54.2 billion.

In the past decade, resources exports have tripled from $57.1 billion in 2001 to $190.5 billion in 2011, accounting for 60.8% of Australia's total exports.

Topics:  department of foreign affairs and trade exports minerals


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