Indian seaborne iron ore exports increased by 47% in March to 6.6m tonnes, the highest monthly total on record, Braemar ACM data shows.
The majority of cargoes headed to China, with 5.1m tonnes of Indian iron ore discharging in Chinese ports, also the highest monthly total on record.
This comes as China continues to diversify the sources of its raw material and agricultural purchases.
Supramaxes transported 4m tonnes of the iron ore loaded in March, with capes carrying 1.4m tonnes. According to Breamar ACM, WCI to Far East on supramaxes has tripled year-over-year to $29,000/day.
Analysts predict global mine output rising to average 2.4% over 2021-2025 versus the negative 2% over the previous five years. This would see an annual production growth by 378m tonnes in 2025 compared to 2020 levels, which is about India and Russia’s combined output last year.
Steelmakers in India, the world’s fourth largest iron ore producer, have pressured authorities to implement an export ban, as surging input costs and scarce domestic supply hit their margins.
However, India is said to be one of the countries to have emerged as key beneficiaries of Chinese ban on Australia’s coal exports. Analysts say that Indian steelmakers now stand in position to purchase Australian coal at cheaper prices after it was shunned by China.
India’s fuel consumption rose in March for the first time in three months, to its highest since December 2019. On a monthly basis, demand rose by 8.7% from February, when it fell to a five-month low.
With economic activity gradually picking up after a coronavirus-induced slowdown China and India, the two largest steel producers, are expected to see 2021 production increase of 7.5% and 6.2% respectively.