Robust iron ore prices to end 2020 on a high

export

Australian iron ore producers are basking in nine-year high prices, with the commodity set to continue at these peaks throughout December.

Reuters recorded prices at their highest since April 2011, while Trading Economics recorded price highs of $US137 ($184.61) per tonne at the beginning of December.

The United States-based data platform attributes the price spike and expectations that it is here to stay on steel demand in China remaining robust in coming months, due to the nation’s infrastructure and property boom.

It also noted that shrinking steel inventories at Chinese mills is putting additional pressure on prices.

Financial firm UBS reported that during November, Australia’s “big four” iron ore producers (BHP, Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto and Roy Hill) exported a combined total of 68.6 million tonnes of the commodity.

This included Rio Tinto shipping 28.3 million tonnes for November (a 2 per cent increase year on year), BHP exporting 22.9 million tonnes( a 3 per cent increase year on year), and Fortescue shipping 14.5 million tonnes ( a 6 per cent decrease year on year).

Roy Hill experienced a 31 per cent decline year on year, exporting 2.8 million tonnes of iron ore in November due to completing port maintenance.

UBS has anticipated that  increased shipping rates will continue in December.

“Rio (Tinto) is guiding to 324 to 334 million tonnes. Should Rio ship in line with December 2019 levels of 32.5 million tonnes, total 2020 shipments would be 331 million tonnes, 1 per cent increase year on year,” UBS stated.

“BHP has not given shipment guidance; however we expect production guidance of 276 to 286 million tonnes will be similar to its shipments for financial year 2020 shipments; 281 million tonnes. For calendar year 2020, BHP is on track to ship 290 million tonnes, up 6 per cent year on year.

“Fortescue Metals Group shipped 14.5 million tonnes in November, this represents a run rate of 177 million tonnes per annum. November run rate was soft against October levels and financial year 2021 guidance is 175 to 180 million tonnes against 178 million tonnes shipped in financial year 2020.

“Calendar year 2020 shipments (are) estimated at 180 million tonnes, up 4 per cent year on year.”

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