Iron ore shipments to China from Port Hedland in Australia jumped 10 percent to a record in October as a recovery strengthened in the world’s second-largest economy.
Exports rose to 25.2 million metric tons from 22.97 million tons in September and 17.63 million tons in October 2012, data from the Port Hedland Authority showed. China is the world’s biggest buyer and Port Hedland is the largest bulk terminal.
Iron ore prices entered a bull market in July and reached a two-month high today after steel mills in China replenished stockpiles and two manufacturing indexes indicated faster growth. Morgan Stanley last month increased its forecast for 2014 by 3 percent to $120 a ton and said the global seaborne market will remain in deficit well into next year.
“Even if overall Chinese consumption of iron ore is volatile, with increasing international supply we expect China’s iron ore imports will continue to increase going into 2014,” Dominic Meredith Hardy, an analyst at Galbraith’s Ltd., a London-based shipbroker, said by phone today. “It shows that China is still there to buy iron ore when import prices are low.”
Ore with 62 percent iron content delivered to the Chinese port of Tianjin increased 0.7 percent to $136.80 a dry ton today, according to The Steel Index Ltd. Prices have risen 24 percent from this year’s low of $110.40 on May 31.
Total exports from Port Hedland were 28.94 million tons in October compared with 28.96 million tons in September and 21.75 million tons in October last year, port data show.
Shipping costs for the raw material averaged $30,486 a day in September, according to data from the Baltic Exchange in London. Traders normally arrange shipping about two to three weeks before loadings. Daily rates averaged $29,415 last month, the second highest in two years, according to the shipping bourse.