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Brazil’s Iron Ore Exports Rose to a 3-Month High in March

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Apr. 14 2015, Updated 4:06 a.m. ET

Brazil iron ore exports

Brazil accounts for about 25% of the global market share of iron ore’s trade volume. After Australia, Brazil is the second-largest iron-ore-exporting country in the world. Brazil is home to one of the largest mining companies, Vale (VALE). In 2014, Brazilian iron ore exports accounted for 18% of China’s overseas purchases compared to 19% in 2013.

Brazil iron ore exports

Brazilian iron ore exports are thus a key metric for investors to watch, along with shipments out of Australia. The Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade releases this data on a monthly basis.

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Volumes reach three-month high in March

Brazil exported 30.8 million tons of iron ore in March 2015. This figure represents a three-month high export volume. This is an increase of 6.3 million tons year-over-year. It is also 21.9% higher month-over-month. Such a strong volume is the result of increasing volumes by Vale, which is the major iron ore exporter from Brazil.

Impact on companies

Though overall iron ore consumption is weak in China, Brazilian iron ore exports are losing more ground than Australian ones are, which hurts Vale (VALE) more than BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO).

A decrease in prices due to a supply glut negatively impacts other producers such as Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF). It also negatively impacts the iShares MSCI Global Metals & Mining Producers ETF (PICK). BHP makes up 17.9% of PICK’s holdings. The SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) also invests in some of these stocks.

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