January iron ore exports drop 24%; more fall seen

January iron ore exports drop 24%; more fall seen

Mumbai:India’s iron ore exports fell for the seventh straight month in January, as a ban by a key state continued to hit shipments, data from a trade body showed, and a duty hike could also hit future exports and push up world prices further.

The world’s third biggest iron exporter after Australia and Brazil, exported 10.66 million tonnes of iron ore in January, down 24% from a year ago, data from the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) showed.

Exports during the April-January period fell 18.1% to 75.11 million tonnes, the trade body said.

World supply of the steel-making ingredient have been limited on an export ban in the southern state of Karnataka, the second biggest producing state, which is being appealed in the country’s top court.

Traders are awaiting the hearing of the case, which is slated for 4 April, to give the direction for calls by the eastern state of Orissa and central Chhattisgarh state for a similar ban.

India will quadruple export duty on iron ore fines to 20% as it seeks to curb exports, mostly to China, in a budget move announced on Monday.

Iron ore exports from the eastern Orissa state, where the government has been acting against illegal mines since 2009, were also hit. Its Paradip port registering a 10.88% fall in exports to 9.36 million tonnes in April-January.

Exports from the western Indian state of Goa steadied at 39.36 million tonnes in April-January, the highest among ports and followed by Paradip in Orissa.

Global miners like Vale and Rio Tinto are likely to raise second-quarter iron ore contract prices by 20% to an all-time high after spot prices hit a record peak this month, Reuters calculations showed on Monday.