Iron ore exports show improved bookings in December

India’s iron ore exports witnessed a month-on-month uptrend in December with 0.6 million tonnes (of fines and lumps) being booked for the first two weeks of December. This is almost double of what was booked in November; and nearly 60 per cent higher than that of the full month last year.

Shipments for November was 0.29 million tonnes (mt) – a 131 per cent month-on-month, trade and vessel line-up data tracked by Steelmint shows.

As per trade sources, the December bookings so far are amongst the best since June.

Data available from the Ministry of Commerce show that, in June, 0.31 mt was exported; in July it was 0.5 mt; in August it was 0.41 mt; in September it dropped to zero and picked slightly in October to 0.13 mt.

Iron ore shipments started falling on the back of weakened commodity cycle, strict Covid control measures in China -the key export market; and India imposing strict export duty on steel making commodities, including high-grade ore.

According to a Commerce Ministry official, uptake started end-November after the withdrawal of export duty since November 19.

“Due to cargo lying at ports, Indian iron ore export activities have rose post-removal of export duties on ore. December trends are quite good at the moment,” the official told businessline.

After the removal of the said duties, several trading houses communicated export offers for iron-ore – 52-57 per cent fines – that were due for loading end-November to early December, a SteelMint report said.

SteelMint’s index for India’s low-grade iron ore fines (Fe 57 per cent) exports has improved following the export duty withdrawal by the Indian government. The index stood at $60/tonne FOB east coast on 1 December, 2022, increasing by $7/tonne w-o-w.

Exports down in value terms

Interestingly, India’s iron ore exports, in value terms, remain depressed YoY in November.

Numbers released by the Commerce Ministry show last month there was a 26 per cent drop YoY in value terms to ₹128 crore versus ₹172 crore in November 2021.

For the April-November period, exports fell 71 per cent in value terms to ₹5,247 crore. It was ₹17,846 crore.

“Price was down for iron ore. But in November 2022, exports rose by 15-odd per cent or so over same month last year,” a trade source said.



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