Shipments from the four largest iron ore producers in Western Australia's (WA) Pilbara region returned to average in the week to 8 October, after three weeks at above-average levels ahead of the end of the July-September quarter.
Rio Tinto, BHP, Fortescue and Roy Hill loaded vessels with a combined 17.12mn deadweight tonnes (dwt) of capacity, down from 19.24mn dwt in the week to 1 October, but in line with 12-month rolling average levels, according to initial shipping data collated by Argus. The dwt tonnage is the maximum capacity of the vessel and overestimates actual shipments by around 5pc.
Rio Tinto loaded vessels with 87.03mn dwt capacity in July-September, up from 83.46mn dwt in April-June, but down from 87.85mn dwt in July-September 2021. Rio Tinto shipped 151.37mn t of iron ore in January-June, leaving it with a target of 168.63mn t to hit the bottom of its 320mn-335mn t guidance for 2022. Assuming it shipped around 83mn t in July-September, based on its shipments of 83.4mn t in July-September 2021, it needs to increase shipments to at least 85.7mn t in October-December to meet the bottom of its guidance.
Rio Tinto's loadings fell to 6.38mn dwt in the week to 8 October from a 2022 high of 8.38mn dwt in the last week of September, and were 1pc below the past year's average of 6.38mn dwt. Rio Tinto is the only one of the big Pilbara iron ore mining firms to report on a calendar year, with BHP and Fortescue running a July-June financial year. Roy Hill is privately-owned and does not report regular production figures.
Roy Hill loaded vessels with 1.55mn dwt capacity, down from 1.56mn dwt the previous week but 26pc above its rolling average of 1.23mn dwt/week. Fortescue's loadings were at 3.61mn dwt, 3pc below its average of 3.73mn dwt, and down from 3.87mn dwt the previous week. BHP loaded 5.64mn dwt in the latest week, up from 5.43mn dwt a week earlier and 2pc below its average of 5.78mn dwt.
Argus ICX iron ore was last assessed at $96.10/dry metric tonne (dmt) cfr Qingdao on a 62pc Fe basis on 12 October, down from $114/dmt on 1 August and from $160.30/dmt on 8 March. The 58pc Fe assessment was at $85.15/dmt cfr Qingdao on 12 October, down from $102.25/dmt on 1 August and $142/dmt on 8 March. argusmedia.com
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