A total of 91 vessels carrying 14.05 million mt of iron ore arrived at major Chinese ports during May 3-9, SMM estimates. This was up 1.21 million mt from the prior week, and up 1.72 million mt from the same period last year.
For the same week, iron ore deliveries leaving Australian ports declined 2.08 million mt on the week to 15.6 million mt, some 520,000 mt higher than the same period last year. The decline in shipments was due to maintenance at a number of berths at Australian ports.
Shipments that departed Brazilian ports were estimated to fall 820,000 mt from the prior week to 5.27 million mt, roughly flat from the level of the same period last year.
Separately, SMM expects the operating rates of blast furnaces in China to extend increase to 87.6% in May, 1.2 percentage point higher than April. The average rate in April expanded 2.3 percentage points on the month to 86.4%. Continued increase in demand from Chinese steel mills will keep iron ore prices firm in the near term.