By Phoebe Sedgman
Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) — Iron ore shipped to China from Australia’s Port Hedland, the world’s biggest bulk export terminal, declined from a record last month amid speculation demand may ease amid slowing economic growth.
Shipments were 29.8 million tons in September from a record 32 million tons in August and 23 million tons in September 2013, according to port authority data. Total exports declined to 36.3 million tons from a record 37.4 million tons in August and 29 million tons a year earlier, the data show. Port Hedland is part of the Pilbara Ports Authority.
Prices of the raw material used to make steel tumbled 41 percent this year as BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group expanded supplies, pushing the market into a glut just as demand growth slowed in China, the biggest buyer. Australia’s state forecaster cut its price estimates for 2014 and 2015 last month and predicted further closures of high-cost producers.
“Steel demand has struggled to improve,” Kash Kamal, an analyst at Sucden Financial in London, said by e-mail. “With mills holding ample stocks of finished steel, buyers are unwilling to purchase significant quantities of iron ore.”
China’s economy will probably expand 7.3 percent this year, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists from Sept. 18 to Sept. 23, down from 7.4 percent in an August survey. China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index was at 51.1 in September, the same reading as in August, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.
Iron ore with 62 percent content at the Chinese port of Qingdao rose 0.9 percent to $79.60 a dry ton yesterday, according to data compiled by Metal Bulletin Ltd. Prices fell for a third straight quarter in the three months ended Sept. 30, the longest such streak on record.
–With assistance from Jasmine Ng in Singapore.
Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.