SYDNEY, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Australia's economy grew 1 percent in the March quarter, led by growth in exports of mining commodities, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on Wednesday showed. The increase was twice that of the upwardly revised figure in the December quarter and lifted the annual growth rate to 3.1 percent, above economists' forecasts, according to the figures. "Growth in exports accounted for half the growth in GDP, and reflected strength in exports of mining commodities," the bureau's chief economist Bruce Hockman said. Mining industry gross value added (GVA) grew 2.9 percent during the quarter, and production of coal, iron ore and liquefied natural gas showed strong increases, the bureau reported. Private non-financial corporations profits also increased by 6 percent in the March quarter, the strongest increase in the past year. "The rise in profits was consistent with the strong increase in mining exports coupled with a lift in the terms of trade this quarter," Hockman said. The latest rise "suggests that the economy started the year on a strong note," economic consultancy Capital Economics' chief Australia and New Zealand economist Paul Dales wrote in an analysis. But "that may be as good as it gets," especially if an ongoing Royal Commission probe into the banking sector "leads to slower credit growth," he said. "We doubt that the strength of net exports will be sustained as there was an element of catch-up after production problems in Q2 and Q3. But we fear that still subdued real income growth and the weakening housing market will mean a lot of the softness in consumption lingers."