Iron ore exports from Port Hedland — Australia’s largest loading terminal — fell in July, according to data from the Pilbara Ports Authority.
The port handles iron ore produced by Fortescue Metals, BHP Billiton and Gina Rinehart’s majority-owned Roy Hill mine.
A total of 38.723 million tonnes of ore was shipped, down 7.4% on June. Despite the slide, the figure was still 9.7% higher than a year earlier.
In cumulative terms, the port shipped 457.5 million tonnes in the year to July, the largest annual total on record.
Exports to China, the largest end-destination for ore shipped form the port, came in at 32.517 million tonnes, down 5.8% on the 34.513 million tonnes in June.
It was still 10.3% higher than a year earlier.
According to Vivek Dhar, a mining and energy commodities analyst at the Commonwealth Bank, the annualised growth figures signals more resilient demand from the world’s largest steel producer, China.
On Friday, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines jumped by 2.1% to $60.74 a tonne, according to Metal Bulletin, leaving its year to date gain at 39.4%.
On Monday, China will release international trade figures for July, including import volumes for iron ore.
In June, China imported 86.75 billion tonnes of iron ore, up 22.4% on the same month a year earlier. In cumulative terms, a total of 987.5 billion tonnes was imported over the same period, the largest annual amount on record.
Nearly half of that figure came directly from Port Hedland.