Brazil’s March iron ore exports recover to 28.4 million

Posted on 07 April 2021

Brazil’s iron ore exports globally in March soared by 18.2% from February to around 28.4 million tonnes after the previous two months’ dip, according to the latest statistics from Brazil’s Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services. The March total was also 34% higher on year.

“It seems like this year, the weather is being more cooperative, with the seasonal effect on iron ore shipments being weaker than expected. Meanwhile, Vale has tried its best to keep iron ore shipments as stable as possible, aiming to hit its production recovery targets,” a Shanghai-based analyst commented. 

Normally, the summer season in Brazil – generally spanning December to March – is characterized by frequent rains across the whole country and which usually impact iron ore miners’ operations. In March last year, Brazilian iron ore shipments were disrupted by heavy rains, which led to the lower shipping volume over the month.

On the other hand, Vale, Brazil’s largest iron ore miner, has been gradually resuming operations at its many halted mining and processing facilities after the Brumadinho tailings dam collapse in late January 2019. The company is expected to have 350 million tonnes/year of iron ore capacity by the end of this year, up from 322 million t/y as at end-2020, and aims to achieve 400 million t/y by the end of 2022, as reported.

Nevertheless, the more-than-one-month sailing time from Brazil to China has meant that total Brazilian iron ore inventories at the 45 Chinese ports had yet to see any increase during March, with the volume dwindling to 43 million tonne as of April 1, or down 685,000 tonnes from the volume on March 4, according to Mysteel’s data.

Last month, iron ore prices had retreated overall from their multi-year highs amid the bearish market sentiment, triggered by concerns regarding Chinese steel mills’ demand. The price of 65.1% grade Carajas fines – one of Vale’s major iron ore products – declined to $194.35/dmt CFR Qingdao by March 31, or down $8.1/dmt on month, the data show.

Brazil, China’s second largest iron ore supply source, exported around 235.7 million tonnes of iron ore to China in 2020, accounting for 20% of total imports.

Source : Mysteel Global