Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton edge out Brazil’s Vale in iron ore cargo shipments to China – by Jasmine Ng (Australian Financial Review – January 27, 2016)

Bloomberg – Cargoes from Australia, the top exporter, accounted for 64 per cent of China’s imports last year from 59 per cent in 2014 and 51 per cent the year before. Brazil’s share rose to 20 per cent in 2015, 2 percentage points higher than in 2014.

The figures from customs data signal that the strategies pursued by Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton in Australia and Brazil’s Vale of raising output to defend market share may be paying off as prices tumble.

The price of iron ore sank 39 per cent last year as supply topped demand, growth slowed in China and lower energy costs and producer currencies enabled miners to pare costs.

“This fight for market share, this fight for survival, the big producers are doing very well,” said Ralph Leszczynski, the Singapore-based head of research at shipbroker Banchero Costa & Co, “With freight and bunker prices so cheap now, that’ll probably help Brazil,” he said, predicting that the country’s market share in China will expand this year.

In tonnage terms, sales by Australian miners to China rose 11 per cent to 607.4 million tonnes last year from 2014, while shipments from Brazilian producers expanded 12 per cent to 191.6 million tonnes.

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