Iron ore sales to China from Australia’s Port Hedland climbed in December as the world’s biggest buyer boosted inventories, undeterred by a temporary halt in shipments because of a tropical cyclone.
Cargoes from the world’s largest ore-export terminal to China totaled 24.2 million metric tons last month from 22.3 million tons in November and 20.2 million tons in December 2012, data on the port’s website show. Total exports were 29.5 million tons from 28.1 million tons in November and 26 million tons a year earlier, according to the data.
Port Hedland restarted shipments on Dec. 31 after halting operations for more than two days as Tropical Cyclone Christine made landfall on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia. Iron ore fell 7.4 percent to $134.20 a dry ton in 2013 and banks from Citigroup Inc. to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predict lower prices this year as Australian miners boost production.
Stockpiles at Chinese ports advanced to 81.5 million tons on Jan. 3, the highest since November 2012, according Beijing Antaike Development Co. Inventories jumped 23 percent after slumping in March to the lowest since 2009.
Ore with 62 percent content delivered to the Chinese port of Tianjin fell 0.2 percent to $134.80 a dry ton yesterday, according to The Steel Index Ltd. Prices dropped 15 percent from last year’s high of $158.90 in February.