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Australia’s Mineral, Energy Exports Drop 2% in Fourth Quarter

Mineral and energy exports from Australia, the world’s largest shipper of iron ore and coal, declined 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter, led by lower prices and volumes for iron and steel and liquefied petroleum gas.

Sales fell to A$51 billion ($54 billion) in the three months ended Dec. 31, from the revised A$52 billion in the September quarter, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics said in a report. Earnings reached a record A$190 billion in 2011, 15 percent higher than the previous year, it said.

“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,” the bureau said today in a separate statement.

Iron and steel export earnings in the fourth quarter dropped 56 percent to A$151 million, LPG fell 24 percent to A$202 million and petroleum refinery products declined 59 percent to A$90 million, according to the bureau’s report. Earnings for thermal coal rose 10 percent, gold advanced 7.8 percent and nickel gained 8.2 percent, it said.

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