Port Hedland iron ore exports fall to three-month low
Sydney, 9 November (Argus) — Iron ore exports from Port Hedland in Western Australia dropped to a three-month low of 41mn t in October, down from 41.57mn t a year earlier and 43.37mn t in September.
The fall was driven by a month-on-month decline in exports to China, which dropped to 35.18mn t last month from 36.73mn t in September but were marginally up from 35.03mn t in October 2016, Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) data show.
Shipments to Japan fell to an 11-month low of 1.5mn t in October from 1.93mn t in September and 1.76mn t in October 2016. Exports to South Korea were relatively flat at 3.5mn t last month from 3.55mn t in October 2016, and were down from 3.75mn t in September.
Port Hedland last month shipped its first iron ore to India since April 2016, exporting 166,150t to the country.
Total exports in October were the lowest since 37.88mn t in July. Shipments in January-October rose to 409.53mn t from 393.82mn t in the same period last year.
Port Hedland typically accounts for around 60pc of Australia's iron ore exports, implying total exports in October could be around 68mn t.
Iron ore producers BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals, Atlas Iron and Roy Hill load cargoes at Port Hedland. Australia's largest iron ore producer Rio Tinto ships through the port of Dampier, as well as Cape Lambert in the Pilbara region.
The PPA does not provide monthly iron ore statistics for Port Dampier. It publishes total port throughput volumes, which were 15.3mn t in October, up from 15.2mn t in September. About 90pc of Port Dampier's volumes are typically iron ore, suggesting about 13.8mn t of the steelmaking raw material was shipped from the port last month. Port Dampier provides a breakdown by commodity only on a quarterly basis.