Elevated Exports: Brazil's Iron Ore Surge

Iron Ore
Iron OreImage Source: The Assay


In 2023, Brazil experienced a remarkable 10% surge in annual iron ore exports, marking a rebound from the previous year's decline. The Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade revealed that iron ore constituted 8.99% of the country's total shipments, holding a significant 38.7% share in the overall mining industry supplies. December witnessed a peak in exports, hitting the highest volume in 12 years, amounting to 39.7 million metric tons. China remained the primary destination, absorbing 64% of Brazil's iron ore exports in 2023.



In a notable economic rebound, Brazil witnessed a substantial surge in its annual iron ore exports for the year 2023. This resurgence comes as a welcome development after a dip in the preceding year, showcasing the resilience of Brazil's mining industry.

According to data from the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade (Mdic), iron ore exports reached a total of 378.5 million metric tons in 2023, marking a significant 10% increase compared to the previous year. This surge positions iron ore as the third-largest product in Brazil's export portfolio, holding an impressive 8.99% share of the country's total shipments.

The culmination of this success was observed in December, where iron ore shipments abroad reached a remarkable 39.7 million metric tons. This figure represented a notable 26% growth compared to November's 31.5 million metric tons and a substantial 24.2% increase year-on-year. Notably, December 2023 marked the highest volume exported in the last 12 years, echoing a level last approached in December 2015.

The economic impact of this surge is evident in the export values. For the entire year of 2023, iron ore shipments had a total value of $30.5 billion on a free on board (FOB) basis, reflecting a commendable 5.5% year-on-year increase. The positive trend continued into December, with the export value surging by 34.6% on a monthly basis and an impressive 69.5% year-on-year, reaching $3.5 billion.

China retained its position as the primary destination for Brazilian iron ore exports in 2023, absorbing a substantial 64% of the total shipments. This represented a 1 percentage point increase compared to the previous year, highlighting the enduring strength of the Sino-Brazilian trade relationship. Following China, Malaysia emerged as the second-largest importer, holding a 5.7% share, a 0.4 percentage point increase from 2022. Japan and Bahrain secured 4% and 3.6%, respectively, with Japan experiencing a 1 percentage point increase and Bahrain a 1 percentage point decrease.


The surge in Brazil's iron ore exports in 2023 not only signifies a remarkable recovery but also underscores the resilience and significance of the country's mining industry. With December marking a zenith in export volumes and values, Brazil showcases its prowess in the global iron ore market. The sustained demand, particularly from China, cements Brazil's position as a key player in the international trade of this crucial commodity.

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