The baffling strength of iron ore revenues

I was going to write this post yesterday but Damien Boey has beaten me to it:

The trade balance has come in surprisingly strong, delivering “nominal easing” to offshore-exposed companies and their relatives. The September trade balance surprised well and truly to the upside, rising to $7.2 billion from an upwardly-revised $6.6 billion. We were especially surprised by the bounce in trade, because coal and iron ore exports have performed so poorly of late.

Yesterday’s trade data had iron ore receipts at near record highs. Coal has come off but not as much as expected. The latter is becasue a lot of volue is still traded on quarterly and annual contracts so that will adjust in time. But the former makes no sense at all given big price and volume falls from August onwards.

I put it down to some kind of unsual delay in receipts or averaging of prices across calendar months. Big falls should still be ahead but they may register in Q4 national accounts.

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