Iron ore exports to China recovered in August, but were still far short of the record 46.2 million tonnes shipped from Port Hedland in June, the Pilbara Ports Authority reported on Tuesday.
Data for July showed exports fell more than 17% to 38.14 million tonnes from June’s record 46.18 million, leading some commentators and analysts to speculate that China was cutting imports of Australian iron ore to ‘punish’ the country in the same way that the duties on Australian barley imports and anti-dumping investigations against Australian wine.
August exports to China were also higher than a year earlier when 38.14 million tonnes of ore were shipped through Port Hedland.
But exports in August to China through Port Hedland totalled 40.16 million tonnes, a rise of just over 5%.
Total iron ore exports for the month were 46.07 million tonnes, still well short of the 51.8 million in June, but up a touch from the 45.4 million in August 2019.
The rise in exports to China came as imports of iron ore fell nearly 11% last month from June.
China’s customs administration data for August showed 100.36 million tonnes of iron ore were imported last month.
That was down from 112.65 million tonnes in July but up 5.8% from the same period a year earlier.
What worried some analysts was the 17% fall in July came as imports jumped to the near-record 112 million tonnes.