Indian iron ore exports ramp up

  • Indian seaborne iron ore exports increased by 47% in March to 6.6 MMT, the highest monthly total on record.
  • The majority of cargoes headed to China, with 5.1 MMT 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.
  • Supras transported 4 MMT of the iron ore loaded in March, with Capes carrying 1.4 MMT.
  • Our Braemar assessed BS13 route, WCI to Far East on Supras, has tripled YoY to $29,000/day.
  • Steelmakers in India have pressured authorities to implement an export ban, as surging input costs and scarce domestic supply hit their margins.

Strong March Capesize activity lays groundwork for strong rates

  • A heavy increase in Capesize loadings across several countries in March has helped to buoy rates over the past few weeks.
  • India, China and Russia all saw their highest monthly export total on record in March, with 1.9, 1.4 and 3.2 MMT of dry bulk loaded on Capes according to AIS tracking data.
  • Meanwhile, Cape cargoes loaded in Canada and Indonesia increased 55% and 127% MoM in March respectively, totaling 5.6 and 6.3 MMT, marking Indonesia’s second strongest month on record.
  • Cape loadings in South Africa and the USA increased by 18% and 30% MoM respectively in March further contributing to strong Cape demand at present.
  • As mentioned above, high iron ore prices have likely allowed China to diversify its iron ore purchases away from Brazilian and Australian producers. At these price levels, smaller miners have emerged as exporters, helping to boost bulker demand.
  • Cape loadings of iron ore specifically grew by 18% MoM whilst coal loadings improved 26% MoM in March.
  • On the import side, India also saw a monthly record amount of Capes discharging in March, totaling 11 MMT, rising 82% MoM.
  • This was largely driven by coal demand, as the country’s industry continues to rebound from the pandemic related disruption last year.
  • The Baltic Capesize Index is currently up 55% MoM rising to $25,976/day at time of writing.
  • There may be more room to run for the index with the April FFA contract breaking through March highs and rising as high as $27,875/day today.