Beijing: Iron ore exports from India, the world’s third-largest supplier of the steelmaking material, will be less than 100 million tonnes in the next fiscal year starting April if prices stay at current levels, a top executive at Sesa Goa said on Wednesday.
India usually exports about half of its annual iron ore output of around 200 million tonnes, most of them going to China.
“Iron ore exports from India will be less than 100 million tonnes if prices stay at current levels,” P.K. Mukherjee, managing director of top Indian iron ore exporter Sesa Goa, told reporters at an industry conference.
Spot iron ore prices have fallen 14% since hitting record highs in mid-February as thin steel demand in top consumer China slowed buying by Chinese steel mills.
Worries that demand from disaster-hit Japan may also slow in the near term before a reconstruction-led rebound has also weighed on iron ore prices.
Iron ore prices surged more than 40% in 2010 on booming demand from China, prodding global producers in Brazil and Australia to boost output.
But India’s iron ore exports fell for a seventh straight month in January because of a ban on shipments from its key Karnataka state and exports are seen falling further due to a four-fold rise in export tax.
India’s iron ore exports are likely to fall 35% to about 58 million tonnes in the next fiscal year due to the curbs and the increase in taxes, R.K. Sharma, secretary-general of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, said earlier this month.