Australia has a very diverse economy and a high standard of living. The country's service industries account for the major part of the economy. The other major export industry is mining; Australia has vast reserves of coal (of which it is the world's leading exporter), natural gas, nickel, iron ore, bauxite and diamonds, as well as uranium (Australian ore fuels many of the Western nations' nuclear power plants).
Most Australian manufacturing is concentrated in the processing of mineral products and in the iron, steel and engineering industries. The traditional agricultural industry is now less important with long-term drought forecasts. Sheep farming appears to be in long-term decline.
China's demand for raw materials has led to a growth market for Australian exports. Japanese investment in Australia, particularly in property and tourist ventures, has reached the point where most of the eastern seaboard 'Gold Coast' is now Japanese-owned.
The Australian economy is enviably strong despite the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, and a drop in international trade. A fiscal stimulus package, confidence in exports and increased economic links within the Asia-Pacific region have meant that Australia has weathered the global economic downturn better than most advanced nations. Inflation has remained low in 2010 at 2.8% while unemployment stood at 5.1% in the same year.