PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Despite the significant fall in iron-ore prices and the continued insistence of an oversupply in the market, Australia’s iron-ore exports to China increased by 18% during the first quarter of 2015, compared with the previous corresponding period.
The Department of Industry and Science revealed in its China Resources Quarterly (CRQ) report that Australia had exported 144-million tonnes of iron-ore to China during the first quarter.
While volumes were up, iron-ore export earnings over the same period declined by 31%, to A$9.9-billion, following a 48% fall in the iron-ore price during that time.
As a whole, China imported 227-million tonnes of iron-ore in the first quarter of 2015, up by 2.3% on the first quarter of 2014.
The CRQ showed that Australia’s market share of Chinese iron-ore imports increased from 53% in the first quarter of 2014, to 64% during the first quarter of 2015. The increase in Australia’s share came at the expense of minor producers.
The total value of China’s iron-ore imports fell by 44% during the first quarter, to $15.8-billion, as the falling price of iron-ore offset the effect of increased import volumes.
The Department of Industry and Science reported that most commodity prices continued to decline in the first quarter of 2015, largely driven by continued increases in supply, although growth in demand has generally been weak.
However, there were indications that prices for commodities such as iron-ore and oil may be stabilising, albeit at lower levels than recorded through 2014.
The government noted that the fall in most commodity prices that began in 2014 had continued into 2015, and reinforced the need for many resources companies to cut costs and improve efficiency.
The CRQ warned that as the period of time that commodity prices spend around their current levels extended, more pressure would be brought to bear on those mines, both in Australia and abroad, that were operating in the upper quartile of their respective industry cost curves.