In this regular update we use high frequency shipping data to analyse current trends and drivers of bulks exports from Australia and assess the impact of macro and micro economic factors on demand and prices.
Our initial forecasts for iron ore exports volumes from Australia in May is 78.7mt up +13.5%mm and up +21% versus the average of the last 3 months. This reflects a further normalisation in exports after the impact from TC Veronica in March.
Total exports all but equalled the record seen in December 2017, with all 3 ports that we track having close to record months. Port Hedland saw its strongest month of exports since June 2018; Cape Lambert since May 2018 and Port Dampier since Feb 2018.
Though global supplies still tight
Shipping data also reveals a modest improvement in shipments from Brazil in May too, with a forecast 24mt in exports, up +3% versus the average over the last 3 months. While exports appear to have picked up modestly, if our forecast is correct, they would still be down -38%yy and -32% 3myy.
This then makes the obvious point; with Australian iron ore exports running at -6% 3myy and Brazil -32% 3myy, combined exports are down -13% over the last 3 months versus the same period a year ago, emphasising the impact that recent events have had on global supplies over the March/ May period.