Iron ore staging strong comeback in 2014

Iron ore staging strong comeback in 2014

World's largest iron ore terminal Port Hedland, in Australia.

Two of the top iron ore produces, Australia and Brazil, are set to benefit from soaring exports registered by the end of 2013, a trend expected to extend into 2014.

According to forecasts by East & Partners' iron ore and coal index, Australia will earn almost $22 billion from exports in the last three months of last year, as the country shipped 21% more ore (152 million tons) in the period than in Q3 2012.

By November, Australia’s iron ore miners had added over $65 billion in the financial year as the predicted crash in iron prices failed to materialize.

World’s second biggest miner Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE:RIO) announced then it would invest $400 million to expand its iron ore production to 360 million tonnes a year by 2017.  In 2012 alone, the company poured $3.4 billion into previous expansions at its Pilbara operations, close to world’s largest known reserves of the steel making material.

The other major iron ore miners BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) are also planning expansions after predictions that China will require a billion tonnes of iron ore by 2030.

Brazil revenue climbs

Brazil's iron ore exports drove revenues up to $3.2 billion in December, an increase of 12.4% compared the same month in 2012.

The amount of iron ore shipped, however was smaller: 31.8 million tons compared to 32.3 MT the year before, show the latest figures from the foreign trade department Secex (in Portuguese).

The figure should be climbing soon, as the world's main producer of the commodity, giant miner Vale (NYSE:VALE) suspended force majeure on shipments Monday. The measure FM was declared late last month, as a result of the weather conditions that impacted operations and deliveries in the Southeastern System, especially in the state of Espirito Santo.

Vale managed to limit the impact on iron ore shipments to 2.5 million tons from the original estimate of 3 to 4 million tons. The company added about 1.3 million tons could be recovered in the first quarter this year.

Brazil's iron ore has been the No. 1 export for the country in the last 14 years. The steel making material is trading at $135.79, down from November's $136.32, but up from its $128.51 price a year ago.

Image by bluecloudspatial