Trade surplus for 2011-12

COAL, iron ore and rural commodities drove growth in Australia's exports to East Asia in 2011, new figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade revealed.

The annual East Asia trade report showed Australia had a trade surplus of $5.8 billion for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

There was also a $9 million surplus for June, a $322 million improvement after a trade deficit of $313 million in May.

The majority of growth was in iron ore, up 30% to $64 billion and coal, up 10.7% to $32.4 billion.

Meanwhile, rural exports such as grains and cereals grew 14% to $34.7 billion in the same period, after 19% growth during the previous financial year.

Trade Minister Craig Emerson said the strong trade surplus demonstrated the importance of Asia to Australia's exports.