Fortescue posts record iron ore shipments

Fortescue Metals Group beat its full-year iron ore estimates on the back of record shipments in the fourth quarter as demand picked up in China.

Resurgent demand for iron ore from the world’s biggest importer of the raw material has helped support prices that have far outperformed other commodities, even as much of the rest of the world is still gripped by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fortescue, the world’s fourth-largest iron ore miner, shipped 47.3 million tonnes of the steel-making material in the June quarter, up from the 46.6 million tonnes a year ago, and ahead of analyst estimates.

The company reported shipments of 178.2 MT for the year, above the miner’s own upgraded forecast of 175-177 MT.

Fortescue received $US80.64 per dry metric tonne (dmt) over the June quarter, or about 86 per cent of the benchmark average Platts 62 per cent CFR Index price.

Over the last fortnight, Rio Tinto and BHP have both reported higher iron ore output thanks to strong conditions in China, whose economy returned to growth in the second quarter.

Fortescue’s costs did rise, though, to $US13.02 per wet metric tonne in the quarter, nearly 2 per cent higher than a year ago, due to COVID-19.

The miner forecast shipments of 175-180 MT for the year ahead, betting that the flood of liquidity from Beijing to support the world’s second-largest economy will accelerate demand.

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