EghtesadOnline: Iranian miners exported a total of 1.85 million tons of iron ore in February, recording a 16.1% growth compared to January shipments, market analyst, Keyvan Jafari Tehrani, said.
China was the main destination as it accounted for 1.79 million tons of the total export volume, rising 12% month-on-month.
Iran shipped a total of 11.34 million tons of iron ore in the past seven months to a host of countries, including Malaysia, Russia, the UAE and Pakistan, in addition to China, which purchased 10.74 million tons of ore during August 2017-February 2018 to remain Iran’s main client.
Malaysia accounted for 258,650 tons, Russia for 44,000 tons, the UAE for 30,000 tons and Pakistan for 25,000 tons of Iran’s exports during the seven-month period, according to Financial Tribune.
Analysts believe profit margins are dropping for low-content ore exporters, including Iranian private miners, while staying solid for large-cap miners.
A study conducted by Macquarie Bank, HIS Markit and Platts indicates that spot seaborne ore shipments’ profit margins for Iranian state-owned mining companies is about 30% for Q3 of 2017, 20% for Q4 and forecasted to again reach 30% in Q1 of 2018.
Iranian private ore exporters, however, have registered only about 10% in the third quarter of 2017, slightly above zero at breakeven point in Q4 2017 and are slated to hit about 5% in the first quarter of 2018.
The boom in Chinese ore demand has buoyed global ore prices, but the industrial goliath’s environmental concerns have reduced demand for less than 62% content ore, leaving smaller producers out in the cold.
Iran was the sixth largest supplier of the commodity to China in 2017, as shipments to the industrial giant made up about 91% of Iranian iron ore miners’ exports. Other top exporters to China in 2017 were Australia, Brazil, South Africa, India and Ukraine respectively.
Iran’s share of Chinese iron ore imports stood at 2.3-2.5% in 2013. The country exported a total of 23.5 million tons, over 90% of which went to China.