Brazilian iron ore exports to China slowed in October from the previous month’s record and shipments to Europe remained half year-ago levels.

Brazil exported a total 31.2mn t of iron ore in October, down by 8.6pc on the year and by 16.8pc from a five-year high of 37.9mn t in September, according to Brazilian customs data. It exported 23.2mn t to China in October, down by 8.9pc on the year and by 27.3pc from a record 31.9mn t in September, customs data show.

A recovery in iron ore shipments from Brazilian mining firm Vale was expected to weigh on seaborne iron ore prices into the end of the year. Wet weather and Covid-19-related lockdowns hampered its operations in the first half of this year. The Argus ICX 62pc index fell from a six-year high of $130.55/dry metric tonne (dmt) in September to below $120/dmt from late October to early November. Prices over the past week rose back above $120/dmt on support from surging steel markets and a slowdown in iron ore arrivals.

Increased fourth-quarter supply was forecast to pressure 62pc fines prices down to $100/dmt cfr China. But China’s total iron ore imports dipped slightly in October and arrivals slowed last week to provide price support.

Exports to Europe fell by 52pc from a year earlier and by around 1pc from September to 1.65mn t. Europe has led declines in 2020, with January-October shipments from Brazil down by 42.5pc.