Saturday, May 09, 2009
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Shanghai. May 8. INTERFAX-CHINA - Brazil's Vale, the world's largest
iron ore producer, shipped 34.63 million tons of iron ore to China in
the first quarter of 2009, which marks a quarterly record, the company
announced on May 6.
China's imports from Vale in the first quarter surpassed the previous
high of 28.19 million tons for the third quarter of 2008, according to
Vale's first quarter report.
Vale attributed the record to a rebound in China's demand for minerals
and metals and a jump in sales due to more contracts with medium-sized
steel mills. In addition, Vale has also adopted a more flexible iron ore
pricing scheme, including provisional pricing.
Vale predicted that looser credit and government-sponsored
infrastructure investment will lead to an increase in domestic demand
and subsequently bolster China's economy over the next three quarters.
However, iron ore demand outside of China remains extremely weak as
Japan, the world's second-largest importer, reduced its purchases in the
first quarter by 34.4 percent year-on-year.
Iron ore sales to China now account for 66.5 percent of Vale's total,
compared with 8.2 percent for Japan, 6.7 percent for Brazil and 6.1
percent for South Korea, according to the report.
Although iron ore shipments to China hit a record high, Vale's gross
revenue for the first quarter dropped by 27.2 percent from the fourth
quarter of 2008 to $5.42 billion because of the drop in both prices and
sales volumes of iron ore and other mineral products.
Vale said its iron ore revenues fell by $555 million over that period
due to the decline in prices.