Iron ore futures in China and Singapore fell on Thursday, with the Dalian benchmark contract dropping by more than 2 percent, as exports of the steelmaking ingredient by top producer Australia likely picked up last month.
The most-traded iron ore contract with January expiry on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange slumped 2.5 percent to 772.50 yuan ($116.15) a ton, its weakest since Oct. 30.
Iron ore’s front-month December contract on the Singapore Exchange slid 1.2 percent to $111.71 a ton.
Australia’s iron ore exports in October were projected to have increased to 78 million tons in October, from the prior month’s 74 million tons, based on Westpac’s estimate. China, the world’s top steel producer, buys about twothirds of Australia’s monthly iron ore exports.
Australia’s export volumes in the third quarter were generally lower than might have been expected due to maintenance activity by major iron ore miners, said Robert Rennie, head of Westpac’s financial market strategy.
“The good news is that the impact of maintenance appears to be waning,” he said, citing an 18 percent year-on-year rise in export volumes at Port Dampier and Cape Lambert port in October.
Iron ore, Australia’s top export, has been spared so far from the simmering tensions between Beijing and Canberra.