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WEEKLY: Aussie, Brazilian iron ore shipments slide 17%

ABSTRACT

Iron ore shipments from Australia and Brazil to worldwide reversed down remarkably over March 4-10 by 4.2 million tonnes or 17.4% on week to about 20 million tonnes with the tonnage from Australia contributing to the largest decline with all three miners’ shipment volume having slipped down over the week, according to Mysteel’s latest survey released on March 12.

Over the period, Australia’s iron ore shipments reversed down 2.3 million tonnes or 13.1% on week to around 15 million tonnes, among which the tonnage to China receded by 2.1 million tonnes or 14.5% on week to 12.5 million tonnes after having hit its 10-week high in the previous week, according to the survey. 

Among Australia’s top three iron ore miners, Rio Tinto’s iron ore shipment to China was recorded at 5.1 million tonnes, down another 217,000 tonnes or 4% on week. 

Iron ore from Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) to China decreased the most, reversing down by 1.36 million tonnes or 34.7% on week to 2.56 million tonnes, and that from BHP also headed downward too though by merely 389,000 tonnes or 8% on week to 4.4 million tonnes. 

The declines were mainly due to the maintenance works at two berths at Rio Tinto’s Port Dampier and one berth at BHP’s Port Hedland, and all should be concluded over March 11-17, and the Australian iron ore shipments, thus, are likely to recover in the upcoming survey period. 

As for Brazil, its total iron ore shipment to the global market fell from the four-week high, down 1.96 million tonnes or 28% on week to 5 million tonnes despite that the tonnage from CSN hiked by 341,000 tonnes or 198% on week to 513,000 tonnes. 

Vale’s iron ore shipment was recorded at 3.9 million tonnes during the period, substantially down 2.56 million tonnes or 40% on week to a 11-month low, mainly because of sharp declines in the shipments from Vale’s Ponta da Madeira and CPBS iron ore port terminals, and the tonnage may face another decline as the world’s top iron ore miner has been requested to temporarily suspend activities at its Guaiba Island Terminal since March 11 on the notice from the local government, as reported. 

As for the Australian iron ore breakdown by grades, those with the grade at and above 62% decreased further by 897,000 tonnes or 17.6% on week to around 5.1 million tonnes, and those with 61% ferrous content and below reversed down by 744,000 tonnes or 26.6% on week to about 2 million tonnes with the declines mostly from FMG’s Kings Fines and West Pilbara Fines. 

Australia’s mainstream lump shipments to China, in contrast, recovered slightly by 233,000 tonnes or 9.7% on week to 2.63 million tonnes. 

Written by Rebecca Zhu, rebeccazhu@mysteel.net.cn

Edited by Hongmei Li, li.hongmei@mysteel.com

Australian iron ore shipments to China (unit: million tonnes)

Miner

Rio Tinto

5.101

BHP

4.435

FMG

2.563

Breakdowns

High-Grade Iron Ore Fines

5.099

Medium- to Low-Grade Fines

2.038

Major Lump Products

2.631



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