Port Hedland Iron Ore Cargoes Rebound in February After Cyclone

Iron ore exports from Australia’s Port Hedland climbed last month, rebounding after a cyclone disrupted shipments in January, and as a cargo-tracking report said that Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill project had dispatched its first cargo of 2016.

Total shipments from the world’s biggest bulk-export terminal were 36.63 million metric tons in February from 33.78 million the previous month and 35.67 million a year earlier, according to data on the port authority’s website on Friday. Exports to China were 29.14 million tons in February, compared with 28.91 million a month earlier and 30.25 million in the same month in 2015.

Iron ore has surged this year as Chinese mills started to ramp up output after February’s Lunar New Year break, and analysts including Capital Economics Ltd. and National Australia Bank Ltd. said that exports had been disrupted, temporarily tightening supplies. The recovery contrasts with three annual losses to 2015, when surging low-cost output from top miners including BHP Billiton Ltd. and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. -- which route cargoes through Port Hedland -- spurred a glut amid shrinking steel demand in China.

The new Roy Hill mine, which plans to ramp up operations this year, shipped 166,200 tons of ore last month, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. said in a report on Thursday. A vessel sailed on Feb. 27 from Port Hedland bound for Pohang, South Korea, Bernstein said. Roy Hill Holdings Pty did not respond to questions from Bloomberg for comment on the report.

Cargoes from Port Hedland for South Korea rose to 3.14 million tons last month from 2.36 million tons in January and 2.54 million tons in 2015, according to port authority data.

A tropical cyclone disrupted activity at Port Hedland in January, when total shipments slumped 10 percent compared with December to the lowest level since June 2014. Ore with 62 percent content delivered to Qingdao, which was at $51.20 a dry ton on Thursday, surged 19 percent last month, according to Metal Bulletin Ltd.

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