Port Hedland iron ore exports tumbled last month

Port Hedland, Australia’s largest iron ore loading port, saw export volumes tumble in October.

Data released by the Pilbara Ports Authority today shows exports fell 7.3% to 36.521 million tonnes, leaving volumes down 2.5% from September 2014.

Reflective of the headline decrease, exports to China fell to 33.782 million tonnes, down 9% on September, although up 3.2% on a year earlier.

The fall is despite the 24/7 operation having an extra day in October compared to last month.

The decline corresponds with an increase in inventories at Chinese ports. According to Shanghai Steelhome Information Technology Company, stockpiles rose by 1% to 84.75 million tonnes last week, the highest level since May.

Tepid demand is also impacting on prices. According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines fell to $49.11 a tonne on Tuesday, extending this year’s decline to 31%. From its record peak struck in early 2011 the price has now fallen in excess of 70%.

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