Australian iron-ore and coal exports fall in January

23rd February 2021 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

Australian iron-ore and coal exports fall in January

Photo by: Bloomberg

PERTH ( – New data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has reported a A$3-billion, or 9%, decline in exports for the month of January, driven by a A$1.5-billion, or 10%, decline in the export of metalliferous ores.

“The decline in metalliferous ores was driven by a decline in the quantity of iron-ore exported in January. Despite the decline, exports of metalliferous ores are the second highest on record behind December 2020,” said ABS head of international statistics Andrew Tomadini.

Iron-ore exports in January were down by 7%, or A$963-million, with iron-ore export volumes decreasing some 10.4-million tonnes, or 13%, off the back of strong exports in December.

However, the ABS noted that the decline in volume was partially offset by the ongoing strength of the iron-ore price, which increased 7% per tonne in January, driven by strong ongoing Chinese demand, and weaker-than-expected output from Brazil’s largest iron-ore mine.

Meanwhile, the ABS reported that coal exports were down 8%, or A$277-million, in January.

The ABS noted that following large increases in December, Australia’s three largest coal export destinations, Japan, India and South Korea, recorded declines. The decline in coal was driven by hard coking coal, and partially offset by an increase in thermal coal.

Offsetting this decline was a 9%, or A$249-million, increase in gas exports.

Year-on-year, metalliferous ores exports were up by 53%, or A$4.94-billion, while non-monetary gold exports were up 89%, or A$1.15-billion.

Offsetting this year-on-year increase was a 31%, or A$1.3-billion, decline in gas exports, and a 21%, or A$881-million, decline in coal exports.