The mining giant Anglo American has reported a record $11.1bn (£7bn) profit for 2011, as growth in India and China sent coal and iron prices soaring.
In addition to the 14 per cent increase in operating profits, Anglo American's chief executive Cynthia Carroll, pictured, cheered the market with an upbeat assessment of her group's prospects this year, "despite short-term uncertainty persisting in the global market".
Profits were helped by a 42 per cent hike in the price of metallurgical coal – used in steel making – during the year, and a 39 per cent increase in thermal coal, used in power plants.
Anglo, which reported an 11 per cent rise in revenues to $36.5bn for the year, also benefited from a 26 per cent rise in the price of iron ore. However, its copper division saw a 13 per cent decline in operating profit, because of falling sales volumes and higher costs.
Ms Carroll anticipates that the rapid "catch-up" in living standards and the huge infrastructure building programmes in China and India will continue to fuel demand and prices.
"We expect sustained growth in the emerging economies, notably in China and India, which will underpin robust demand for commodities, supplemented by recovery signs in the US," she said.
"Continuing industrialisation and urbanisation and the considerable scope for the convergence of living standards, combined with long-term supply constraints, present an attractive proposition."