SYDNEY, March 6 Iron ore exports to China from
Australia's Port Hedland, which ships about a fifth of the
global market for the steel-making raw material, rose 36 percent
in February compared with the same month last year.
Shipments to China were 21.34 million tonnes in February,
compared with 15.66 million for the same period in 2013. That
was down from January's 23.31 million, although much of the
decline may have been due to the timing of the Lunar New Year
holiday in China.
February also saw heavy rains in the Pilbara iron belt, from
where the port's top two users, BHP Billiton
and Fortescue Metals Group, ship around 80 million
tonnes per quarter.
Analysts have been concerned that China's appetite for
imported ore could wane in the months ahead as industrial growth
cools and demand for steel weakens.
Iron ore shipments to Japan picked up to 2.7 million tonnes
in February, from 1.43 million the previous month and 2.25
million in February last year.
Shipments to South Korea were at 2.61 million, from 2.74
million in January and 1.39 million in the same month of 2013.
Overall, Port Hedland iron ore exports totalled 27.79
million tonnes, compared with 28.23 million in January and 19.9
million a year ago.