The world’s three biggest iron ore miners are expected to confirm the industry’s strongest ever quarterly export figures this week, helping to explain recent weakness in prices for the bulk commodity.
Big miners have exercised restraint in both supply and rhetoric in recent years in a bid to calm fears the iron ore market could be flooded with supply, but port statistics suggest the miners’ inexorable export growth reached new heights in the three months to June 30.
Brazilian miner Vale is expected to announce record quarterly production of 96.3 million tonnes when it kicks off reporting season early on Tuesday morning Australian time, and Rio Tinto is expected to report strong numbers of its own several hours later.
UBS believes Rio Tinto shipped 88.9 million tonnes from Western Australia in the quarter; a performance that would be its second best quarter ever and would put it on track to test the top end of its iron ore export guidance range for the 2018 calendar year.
The world’s third biggest producer, BHP, will publish its production and export data on Wednesday, amid expectations it shipped record volumes of about 71.7 million tonnes during the quarter, including tonnes owned by joint venture partners such as Itochu.