Iron Exports From Australia’s Port Hedland Expand to Record

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Iron ore exports from Australia’s Port Hedland climbed to an all-time high in June as mining companies in the world’s largest shipper increased low-cost supplies. Prices tumbled the most in a year.

Total shipments jumped 14 percent to 38.4 million tons last month from a year earlier, the Pilbara Ports Authority said on Thursday. That exceeded the previous record of 38 million tons in May, according to port authority data compiled by Bloomberg. Exports to China were 32.6 million tons, also a record.

Surging overseas sales from Australia and from Brazil, which reported that June’s shipments were the highest this year, may help to spur lower prices. Exports from Australia may expand 10 percent next year, more than twice the pace that’s forecast for 2015, the government said on Tuesday, citing additional supplies from Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill, a new mine, as well as capacity expansions by producers including Rio Tinto Group.

“This is just further evidence the majors are continuing to push the tons,” said Paul Gait, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in London. “Clearly, that’s bad for prices, there’s no way that could be interpreted positively.”

Ore with 62 percent content delivered to Qingdao, which bottomed at $47.08 a dry ton on April 2, dropped 6 percent to $55.63 a dry ton on Thursday, the biggest decline since May 2014 and lowest price since April 23, according to Metal Bulletin Ltd. The benchmark rose 16 percent in the three months through June after exports from Brazil and Australia missed expectations.

Shipments from Brazil, the second-biggest exporter, surged to 32 million tons in June, according to the trade ministry. That compared with 29.55 million tons a year earlier.

Port Hedland is the world’s largest bulk-export terminal. The facility handles cargoes of iron ore from BHP Billiton Ltd. and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., Australia’s largest producers after Rio Tinto.