The value of Australia’s resources and energy exports in 2011 increased by 15 per cent from the previous year to a record $190 billion, according to the Resources and Energy Statistics December quarter 2011 report released today by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE).


’The record value of resources and energy exports in 2011 reflects increased earnings for the vast majority of resources and energy commodities, including iron ore, coal, LNG, oil and base metals,’ said Professor Quentin Grafton, BREE Executive Director and Chief Economist on releasing the report.


The index of unit returns of Australian exports for mineral resources increased by 14 per cent in 2011, compared with 2010. Export prices for metals and other minerals increased by 9 per cent, while export unit returns for energy commodities increased by 20 per cent.


The 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, 12 per cent higher than in 2010.


Commodities that recorded significant increases in export earnings in 2011, relative to 2010 include: iron ore, up $9.9 billion (20 per cent) to $59.3 billion; thermal coal, up $2.4 billion (18 per cent) to $15.6 billion; LNG, up $1.6 billion (16 per cent) to $11.1 billion; metallurgical coal, up $1.7 billion (6 per cent) to $31.3 billion; and crude oil and other refinery feedstock, up $1.3 billion (12 per cent) to $12.3 billion.


Commodities that recorded significant declines in export earnings in 2011 compared with 2010 include: iron and steel, down $311 million (22 per cent) to $1.1 billion, liquefied petroleum gas, down $112 million (10 per cent) to $969 million; and refined silver, down $92 million (39 per cent) to $144 million.


Australian production of energy and mineral resources was mixed in 2011 with increases in iron ore, copper and nickel offset by lower output of coal and oil.


’Increased iron ore production was underpinned by the start up of new capacity in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, while coal production was affected by flooding in Queensland in early 2011,’ said Professor Grafton.


BREE will release its most up-to-date forecasts of production, exports and prices for the period to 2016-17 for Australia’s key resource and energy commodities in the March issue of Resources and Energy Quarterly, on 21 March 2012.


The Resources and Energy Statistics is available here.