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Port Hedland Records Higher Iron Ore Exports

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Apr. 7 2015, Updated 5:07 p.m. ET

Port Hedland

Most of the world’s iron ore seaborne exports come from Australia. Australia supplied 59% of China’s iron ore imports in 2014 compared with 51% in 2013, according to customs data.

BHP Billiton (BHP) and Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) both ship from Port Hedland. Meanwhile, Rio Tinto exports its ore from Cape Lambert and Dampier, located west of Port Hedland. Shipments through Port Hedland represented 55% of Australia’s iron ore exports in 2014. More than 80% of those exports went to China.

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Overall exports rise

According to Pilbara Ports Authority statistics, iron ore exports from Port Hedland stood at 35.7 million tons in February 2015. In comparison, the port exported 36.8 million tons in January 2015 and 27.8 million tons in February 2014. Port Hedland recorded a monthly throughput of 36.1 million metric tons, an increase of 27% over the same month a year ago.

On a daily basis, Australia’s Port Hedland shipped the most iron ore in February, as suppliers increased output through the world’s largest bulk-export terminal.

The Pilbara Port experienced a busy February as well, exporting record daily tonnages of iron ore, according to Mining Australia. A total of 1.27 million metric tons were shipped each day in February—topping the previous high of 1.21 million tons per day recorded in September 2014.

China exports rise

On a month-over-month basis, iron ore exports to China from Port Hedland increased marginally to 30.25 million tons in February 2015, up from 30.15 million tons in January 2015. Yet compared to February 2014, shipments were up by 42%, indicating expanded production by mining companies using the port.

With rising iron ore exports from Port Hedland, dry bulk shippers such as Star Bulk Carriers (SBLK), Safe Bulkers (SB), and Navios Maritime Holdings (NM) may see some positive activity.

For broad exposure to this sector, consider the SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF (XME). This ETF invests in industries such as steel, coal and consumable fuels, gold, precious metals and minerals, aluminum, and diversified metals and mining.

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