CHART: The world just can't get enough of Australian iron ore

Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images

The world cannot get enough of Australian iron ore, particularly when it comes to China.

According to figures released by the Pilbara Ports Authority late Monday, total iron ore exports from world’s largest iron ore loading terminal, Port Hedland, surged to a record high in June.

The chart below tells the story. The increase was so large that we had to adjust the left-hand axis. Ore-some!

Over the month iron ore exports totaled 41.808 million tonnes, easily blowing away the previous record high of 39.534 million tonnes shipped in March 2016.

It was also 9% higher than the amount shipped one year earlier.

In cumulative terms, there was 454.2 million tonnes shipped over the past 12 months, the highest total on record and 3% above the levels recorded in the 2014/15 financial year.

“The increase in the port’s iron ore exports reflects the commissioning of the 55Mtpa [million tonne per annum] Roy Hill iron ore project,” said Vivek Dhar, a mining and energy commodities analyst from the Commonwealth Bank, following the release of the data.

China, as the largest end-destination for exports from the port, drove the record-breaking increase.

Shipments to China jumped to 34.5 million tonnes in June, up 8.8% from May. It too was a monthly record, smashing the prior record of 33.9 million tonnes shipped three months earlier.

Exports from Port Hedland accounted for 58% of Australia’s total iron ore exports in 2015. Australia’s Department of Industry last week estimated that Australian iron ore exports would increase to 818Mt in 2016, up 6.7% on the levels of a year earlier.

It looks like there may be many more records to come, at least based on that assessment.

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