Government of Western Australia Official Site


WA Economic Profile – February 2017

Please find attached the latest copy of the WA Economic Profile for February 2017


Main updates this month

WA Treasury 2016-17 Pre-election Projections Statement

  • Western Australia’s real gross state product is forecast to grow 0.5 per cent in 2016-17, following 1.9 per cent growth in 2015-16.

Labour market

  • Western Australia’s employment rose by 15,100 to 1.35 million in January 2017.
  • The unemployment rate was 6.5 per cent in January 2017, below the 6.6 per cent in the previous month, but above the 5.9 per cent a year ago.

Business investment

  • Mining new capital expenditure in Western Australia fell 37 per cent to $26.9 billion in 2016.
  • Mining accounted for 80 per cent of Western Australia’s private new capital expenditure and 63 per cent of Australia’s mining investment in 2016.


  • The value of Western Australia’s merchandise exports rose 3 per cent to $105.9 billion in 2016.
  • Western Australia accounted for 41 per cent of Australia’s merchandise exports in 2016, including large shares of Australian exports to the United Kingdom (74 per cent), Hong Kong (67 per cent), China (64 per cent), Japan (39 per cent) and Korea (35 per cent).
  • China was Western Australia’s largest export market in 2016 ($51.3 billion or 48 per cent), followed by Japan ($13.8 billion or 13 per cent).
  • Western Australia’s exports rose to China (up 6 per cent or $2.8 billion), but fell to Japan (down 17 per cent or $2.8 billion) in 2016.

Exchange rate

  • The monthly average Australian dollar exchange rate rose 5 per cent to US75.7 cents in January 2017.

Commodity prices

  • In January 2017, the monthly average price of:

o   iron ore was unchanged at US$80.0 a tonne

o   LNG was US$7.1 a million British thermal unit

o   crude oil rose 1 per cent to US$52.5 a barrel

o   gold rose 3.0 per cent to US$1,192 an ounce

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia’s monthly index of rural commodity prices rose 8 per cent in January 2017.


The latest WA Economic Profile will be available on the Department of State Development’s website after the State Election.