Port Hedland Iron Ore Shipments Drop in June, Authority Says

Iron ore shipments from Australia’s Port Hedland, the world’s biggest bulk terminal, declined from a record last month.

Exports totaled 27.7 million metric tons in June from 27.9 million tons in May, while shipments to China were 22.9 million tons last month from 23.3 million tons in May, data on the Port Hedland Port Authority’s website showed. Still, total shipments averaged 924,823 tons a day in June compared with 899,945 tons a day in May, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Iron ore fell 26 percent from a 16-month high in February on concern that expansion in China is faltering. Two gauges of China’s manufacturing fell in June, underscoring a sustained slowdown in the economy as policy makers seek to rein in financial speculation and real-estate prices. Weaker gains in manufacturing and a cash squeeze in the banking system add to odds that Li Keqiang will become the first premier to miss an annual growth target since the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

“Momentum appears to be easing,” Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. analysts including Mark Pervan and Natalie Rampono wrote in a report today. “The third quarter tends to be seasonally weak for industrial activity in China, so we remain cautious on bulk demand near term.”

An official Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to 50.1, the lowest level in four months, from 50.8, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said yesterday. A separate PMI released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics was at 48.2, the weakest since September. Readings above 50 signal expansion.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., China International Capital Corp. Barclays Plc and HSBC Holdings Plc last month pared their China growth projections for this year to 7.4 percent, below the government’s 7.5 percent goal.

Iron ore with 62 percent content delivered to the Chinese port of Tianjin gained 0.3 percent to $116.90 a dry ton yesterday, according to data from The Steel Index. The price climbed to $158.90 in February.