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Port Hedland Iron Ore Shipments to China Extend Climb to Record

Iron ore shipments to China from Port Hedland in Australia, the biggest exporter, advanced to a record last month as mining companies increased production.

Shipments reached 32 million tons in August from 30.6 million tons in July and 22.3 million tons in August 2013, according to port authority data. Total exports also rose to an all-time high of 37.4 million tons from 36.1 million tons in July and 27.4 million tons a year earlier, the data show. Port Hedland, the largest bulk export terminal, is part of the Pilbara Ports Authority. China is the top buyer of the ore.

Prices slumped 35 percent this year as producers including Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd. expanded output, pushing the market into oversupply. Global seaborne output will exceed demand by 72 million tons this year and 175 million tons in 2015, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates.

“At this time of year we’ve got very good weather in Australia and the companies involved, Fortescue and BHP, are tying in expansions that have happened months ago and are getting more consistent with their volumes,” Daniel Morgan, an analyst at UBS AG in Sydney, said by phone today. “From here, on both company guidance and capacity, those numbers should be flat lining at about those levels into the end of the year.”

Iron ore with 62 percent content at the Chinese port of Qingdao dropped to $87.40 a dry ton yesterday, the lowest since October 2009, according to data compiled by Metal Bulletin Ltd.

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