Export earnings from Australian mineral resources rose to a record $55.6b in 2000-01, an increase of $11.8b or 27% on the previous year. This much stronger performance in 2000-01 reflected significantly higher export prices and volumes for the majority of minerals and energy commodities. In particular, average oil and gas export unit prices increased by between 31% and 40%. For a number of other commodities (alumina, aluminium, coal, iron ore, titanium dioxide pigment, zinc and zircon), export unit prices rose by between 15% and 23%. Reflecting the general rise in prices, the index of export unit returns for mineral resources (prices received in A$ terms) increased by 21% in 2000-01.
Coal remained the biggest export earning mining commodity, with a value of $8.8b in 2000-01, representing 9% of total merchandise exports. Other major exports were gold ($5.1b, 4%), crude petroleum oils ($7.6b, 6%), iron ore ($4.9b, 4%) and alumina ($4.4b, 4%).
Some of the commodities for which export earnings increased in 2000-01 included: crude oil, up $2,817m (53%); coking coal, up $1,413m (27%); iron ore, up $1,133m (30%); steaming coal, up $1,085m (35%); alumina, up $1,031m (30%); aluminium, up $932m (28%); LNG, up $722m (37%); refined petroleum products, up $683m (57%); copper, up $680m (42%); zinc up $537m (44%); nickel, up $194m (10%); LPG up $182m (28%); and uranium oxide, up $130m (35%).
From 1999-2000 to 2000-01, Australian exports of crude oil and other refinery feedstock increased by 14.7% to 23,986 ML, while LPG declined by 2.6% to 2,785 ML. Automotive gasoline exports declined by 2.9%. Export earnings from crude oil and condensate rose by 57% to $7.6b, those from LNG rose by 37% to $2.7b, and those from LPG rose by 28% to $830m.
The major markets for Australian crude oil and other refinery feedstock were Singapore (6,808 ML), Korea (4,358 ML), Japan (4,069 ML) and Taiwan (3,656 ML). The major markets for LPG were Japan (2,241 ML) and China (416 ML); the major market for automotive gasoline was the United States of America (174 ML).