Mumbai: Indian iron ore exporters shipped about 33% less of the steel-making ingredient in October as a fall in global prices made high costs unviable, although they are seen benefiting from this month’s price reversal and a weaker rupee.
Iron ore exports from India, the world’s third biggest exporter of the raw material, fell to 4.55 million tonnes in October from 6.87 million tonnes a year ago, the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries said in a statement.
They fell 25.15% to 35.38 million tonnes in April-October, it said.
Western Goa state’s share of the exports was the largest at 19.76 million tonnes in April-October, down 6.15%, followed by eastern Orissa’s Paradip port, which exported 5.08 million tonnes.
Most of India’s iron ore lands up in China, which has the world’s largest steel industry.
A fall in global steel prices since September and high costs including freight duties have hurt exports. But signs of a pick-up in prices and a 4.2% fall in the rupee since 1 November could help exporters going ahead.
“Last two months were very bad for exporters... realisation will be quite high now as markets are also recovering and even the rupee is weak,” said Dhruv Goel, managing director with Orissa-based iron ore trader SteelMint.
Exporters can break even or earn slight profits on shipments at the current price level of $150 per tonne, he added.
Iron ore rose to its highest in nearly a month as spot prices gained for a 12th day in a row, with firmer steel prices in top consumer China encouraging more buying of the raw material and helping it recover from last month’s 31 percent slump.
However, shipments are likely to stay down due to a delay in the enforcement of the supreme court’s removal of an export ban in southern Karnataka state, which accounts for about a quarter of iron ore shipments from India.
The country’s top court has also banned mining in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts in the state, citing environmental degradation.