Annual Brazilian iron ore exports hit a seven-year low in 2020 due to natural disasters such as heavy rains and floods, combined with mining giant Vale’s slow recovery after weathering a dam failure in 2019, overlaid with the impact of the global spread of the New Crown pneumonia outbreak. Vale expects iron ore production to increase by 8.7% to 350 million tons in 2021 but remains about 10% lower than in 2018.
In addition, China’s steel production grew rapidly in the first quarter of 2021, with China’s total iron ore imports from Brazil rising 27% year-on-year to 17.37 million tons in March.
During the same period, the EU imported 3.03 million tons of iron ore from Brazil, up 55% year-on-year, while Malaysia’s iron ore imports from Brazil also increased approximately threefold year-on-year to 2.59 million tons.
In March, Brazil’s iron ore exports to Japan fell 51% year-on-year to about 620,000 tons. It is understood that in this fiscal year from April 2020 to March 2021, the impact of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the Japanese automotive industry demand is weak, Japanese steel production is at its lowest level in nearly 50 years. (Yang Yue)
China Metallurgical News (April 23, 2021, page 02, second edition)