05/11/2013 07:51:00

Port Hedland October Iron-Ore Exports Flat, but China Cargoes Keep Rising

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By Rhiannon Hoyle

SYDNEY--Iron-ore exports from northwestern Australia's Port Hedland were almost unchanged in October, with a jump in shipments to China offsetting lower deliveries to big importers like Japan and South Korea.

During October, 28.9 million metric tons of the bulk commodity used in steel-making were shipped, down 0.1% on September volumes, data from Port Hedland Port Authority showed Tuesday.

Mining companies like BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (FMG.AU) and Atlas Iron Ltd. (AGO.AU) use Port Hedland, making it one of the world's largest iron-ore export terminals.

Exports to China, the world's biggest importer of iron-ore by volume, rose 10% during the month to 25.2 million tons.

Earlier this month, BHP raised its outlook for full-year iron-ore production as it reported record output from the expanding Pilbara mining hub in northwest Australia.

Miners have faced volatile commodity prices over the past 18 months as China's economy slowed, raising concerns that demand for the commodity will ease. However, China's imports have proved surprisingly resilient--in September these hit a record 74.6 million tons, up 15% on year.

China's steel output in September was 11% higher than year-earlier levels, and January-September production was up 8% on-year

Port Hedland exports to other major buyers were weaker in October versus September, with shipments to Japan down 28% at 1.6 million tons and exports to South Korea halved.

Iron-ore traffic through Port Hedland has risen sharply in recent years as BHP and companies like Fortescue have raised output at Pilbara.

Compared with year-earlier volumes, exports via the port in October were up 33%, with shipments destined for China 43% higher.

Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 05, 2013 02:51 ET (07:51 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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