HELENA – Montana’s international commodity exports remained steady for 2012, maintaining the record of $1.6 billion set in 2011. The 2012 figure is a 13 percent increase over the state’s last record set in 2008.

Mineral fuel exports, namely coal and petroleum, were strong export commodities. This category increased 6 percent over 2011 figures and fetched a total of $397 million in export sales.

Other exports with strong increases over 2011 included milling products such as malt barley, which expanded 351 percent, mostly exported to Canada. Pharmaceutical products, vegetables and live animal exports also had substantial gains.

Canada remained the state’s top export destination and the largest importer of light oils and petroleum products, followed by China and the Republic of Korea, the largest importer of Montana coal. Belgium moved up from ninth to fourth place with an increase of 159 percent over 2011, largely due to its interest in Montana pharmaceutical commodities.

Final analysis is not complete for the state’s 2012 bulk wheat exports but overall, it remains Montana’s leading export, followed by coal and oil, inorganic chemicals, industrial machinery, vehicles/parts, Portland cement, talc, and pharmaceutical products.