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Resources exports are guiding Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with iron ore continuing to set new highs as prices reach lucrative levels.

Australia recorded a trade surplus of $7.5 billion in October, following a jump of $1.6 billion on September.

Iron ore is responsible for driving $11 billion worth of exports, representing a 4 per cent rise on the previous month and a 44 per cent increase on the prior year.

Iron ore prices have rallied to a seven-year high this week, and climbed from $US134.56 per ton ($181) on Wednesday December 2 to $US135.66 per ton the following day.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt added that the value of coal exports were up 3 per cent in October on the previous month, stating that Australia had helped China, Korea, Japan “to keep the lights on”.

“It is the sweat and hard work of Australian workers in the mines, on oil rigs and in the gas fields that continues to support the economy,” he said.

“While 2020 has been a difficult year for many, with falls in global coal and oil prices, the trade data shows Australia’s resources and energy sector remains resilient and ready to supply the world as global conditions improve.”

Australia’s coal exports were valued at $3.4 billion in October.