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Australia replaced South Africa and Brazil as the major exporter of iron ore to India for the 2017-18 fiscal year ended 31 March after being a marginal supplier for the past several years. Fortescue Metals exported the majority of the ore with over 2mn t of medium-grade fines since January 2018.

Fortescue Exports

Australia exported 2.86mn t of iron ore in 2017-18, which was around a third of total Indian imports, up from 5,539t in 2016-17 government data shows. Export records show that exports from Australia most likely came from Fortescue Metals who exported over 2mn t of medium-grade fines to India since January 2018.

Iron Ore Exports 2017-18 to India

  1. Australia exported 2.86mn t of iron ore in 2017-18, up from 5,539t in 2016-17
  2. South Africa exported to India 2.74mn t of iron ore in 2017-18 compared with 2.38mn t in 2016-17,
  3. Brazil’s exports were at 2.17mn t compared with 1.73mn t in 2016-17.

Most of India’s iron ore imports are by coastal mills that have the flexibility of weighing up domestic and imported prices and import opportunistically. However a portion of the imports of plus 65pc Fe fines and concentrate are also done to increase blast furnace productivity and lower impurities in the furnace burden. Market participants said the buyer was possibly a large-scale Indian steel mill with a west coast-based plant that increased its use of Fortescue’s fines as the spread between 62pc and 65pc Fe fines widened.

India’s domestic iron ore output increased in 2017-18 to 210.28mn t compared with 192.08mn t in 2016-17 and 158mn t in 2015-16, according to preliminary figures released by the ministry of mines.  India’s iron ore exports fell by around 21pc to 24.38mn t in 2017-18 compared with 30.72mn t in 2016-17.

This will most likely fall in 2018-19 as the Supreme Court has suspended mining in west India’s Goa state since 15 March of this year. With the majority Goa’s output exported to China this should not affect domestic availability that is currently sufficient to meet steel mills’ requirements

Source: Argus

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