Fortescue Metals ore shipments jump

Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group Ltd has posted a 5 per cent rise in first-quarter iron ore shipments, with demand in China for the steelmaking ingredient remaining robust.

Despite a coronavirus-induced slump in demand for most commodities this year, iron ore prices have remained buoyant as China, the world’s top metals user, ramps up infrastructure spending to counter the economic shock from curbs to contain the virus.

The world’s fourth-largest iron ore miner said on Thursday its ore fetched $150 per dry metric tonne (dmt) in the quarter, compared to $121 per dmt a year earlier.

Improving conditions in China have also helped larger peer BHP report higher iron ore output but a resurgence in coronavirus cases elsewhere has led miner Rio Tinto to warn global economic growth is still at risk.

However Fortescue struck an upbeat tone and said it was “well-positioned” to meet its full-year iron ore shipment forecast of 175 million tonnes to 180 million tonnes (Mt).

The Perth-based miner shipped 44.3 Mt of the steel-making material in the quarter ended September 30, compared with 42.2 Mt a year earlier and in line with UBS estimates of 44.1 Mt.

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