Iron Ore Exports by Country

Iron Ore Exports by Country

Iron ore smelter

International sales of iron ore exported by country totaled US$92.6 billion in 2018, declining by -26.3% since 2014 when iron ore shipments were valued at $125.7 billion and shrinking by -0.9% from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, Oceania led by Australia sold the greatest amount of exported iron ore at 50.4% of the global total. In second place was Latin America (23.6%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean trailed by shippers in Europe (7.6%), Asia (7.4%), North America (5.5%) then Africa (5.4%).

For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for iron ore is 2601.

Iron Ore Exports by Country

Countries

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of iron ore during 2018.

  1. Australia: US$46.7 billion (50.4% of total iron ore exports)
  2. Brazil: $20.2 billion (21.8%)
  3. South Africa: $4.2 billion (4.6%)
  4. Canada: $4.1 billion (4.4%)
  5. Ukraine: $2.9 billion (3.1%)
  6. Sweden: $2.4 billion (2.6%)
  7. Russia: $1.6 billion (1.7%)
  8. India: $1.2 billion (1.3%)
  9. Oman: $1.1 billion (1.2%)
  10. Bahrain: $989.7 million (1.1%)
  11. United States: $981.2 million (1.1%)
  12. Chile: $973.4 million (1.1%)
  13. Malaysia: $857.4 million (0.9%)
  14. Iran: $841.6 million (0.9%)
  15. China: $793.2 million (0.9%)

The listed 15 countries shipped 97% of global iron ore exports in 2018 by value.

Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing iron ore exporters since 2014 were: China (up 4,662%), Malaysia (up 101.9%), Oman (up 72.6%), Bahrain (up 67%) and India (up 42.8%).

Those countries that posted declines in their exported iron ore sales were led by: South Africa (down -38.6%), Australia (down -32.9%), United States (down -27.1%), Iran (down -24.9%) and Brazil (down -21.7%).

Advantages

The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for iron ore during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s iron ore exports and its import purchases for that same commodity.

  1. Australia: US$46.7 billion (net export surplus down -32.8% since 2014)
  2. Brazil: $20.2 billion (down -21.7%)
  3. South Africa: $4.2 billion (down -38.9%)
  4. Canada: $3.3 billion (up 12.6%)
  5. Ukraine: $2.9 billion (down -6.8%)
  6. Sweden: $2.4 billion (down -15.2%)
  7. Russia: $1.1 billion (up 1%)
  8. Chile: $963.1 million (down -12.2%)
  9. Iran: $841.6 million (up 29.3%)
  10. Mauritania: $538.6 million (down -37%)
  11. Peru: $476.4 million (down -26.3%)
  12. Kazakhstan: $466.2 million (down -57.9%)
  13. Mongolia: $342.1 million (down -23.3%)
  14. United States: $329.6 million (down -47.2%)
  15. Oman: $270.2 million (reversing a -$319.2 million deficit)

Australia generated the highest surplus in the international trade of iron ore. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms the country nicknamed The Land Down Under‘s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.

Opportunities

The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for iron ore during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s iron ore import purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

  1. China: -US$74.2 billion (net export deficit down -20.6% since 2014)
  2. Japan: -$9.3 billion (down -41.5%)
  3. South Korea: -$5.4 billion (down -36.5%)
  4. Germany: -$3.6 billion (down -25.3%)
  5. Taiwan: -$1.9 billion (down -22.8%)
  6. France: -$1.3 billion (down -19.9%)
  7. Egypt: -$1 billion (up 91.4%)
  8. Turkey: -$949.6 million (down -3.5%)
  9. Saudi Arabia: -$921.5 million (down -22%)
  10. United Kingdom: -$782.1 million (down -47.3%)
  11. Netherlands: -$772.9 million (up 8.3%)
  12. United Arab Emirates: -$761.6 million (up 37.3%)
  13. Italy: -$711.7 million (down -30.1%)
  14. Belgium: -$686.4 million (down -3.6%)
  15. Argentina: -$610.1 million (down -17%)

China incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of iron ore. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights China’s strong competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for iron ore-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand from the highly industrialized Chinese economy.

Companies

Iron Ore Exporting Companies

Below are the world’s largest iron ore conglomerates and major iron ore exporting companies. Show within parenthesis is the country where the company is headquartered.

  • BHP Billiton (Australia)
  • Rio Tinto (United Kingdom)
  • Vale (Brazil)
  • Glencore International (Switzerland)
  • Anglo American plc (United Kingdom)
  • ArcelorMittal (Luxembourg)
  • Fortescue Metals Group (Australia)
  • Severstal (Russia)
  • Vedanta Resources (United Kingdom)
  • Evraz Group (United Kingdom)


 

Searchable List of Iron Ore Exporting Countries in 2018

You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icon at the top of any of the columns below.

RankExporterIron Ore Exports (US$)%Total
1.Australia$46,716,266,00050.4%
2.Brazil$20,215,662,00021.8%
3.South Africa$4,224,767,0004.6%
4.Canada$4,100,856,0004.4%
5.Ukraine$2,869,386,0003.1%
6.Sweden$2,380,929,0002.6%
7.Russia$1,598,063,0001.7%
8.India$1,248,709,0001.3%
9.Oman$1,069,388,0001.2%
10.Bahrain$989,714,0001.1%
11.United States$981,205,0001.1%
12.Chile$973,359,0001.1%
13.Malaysia$857,428,0000.9%
14.Iran$841,610,0000.9%
15.China$793,174,0000.9%
16.Mauritania$538,586,0000.6%
17.Kazakhstan$477,051,0000.5%
18.Peru$476,473,0000.5%
19.Mongolia$342,186,0000.4%
20.Venezuela$218,559,0000.2%
21.Liberia$175,008,0000.2%
22.Vietnam$103,247,0000.1%
23.Norway$78,685,0000.1%
24.Philippines$71,809,0000.1%
25.Spain$58,277,0000.1%
26.Turkey$45,879,0000.05%
27.Sierra Leone$31,738,0000.03%
28.Indonesia$23,678,0000.03%
29.Finland$18,775,0000.02%
30.Netherlands$17,640,0000.02%
31.Qatar$11,906,0000.01%
32.Laos$11,026,0000.01%
33.France$8,567,0000.01%
34.Mexico$6,986,0000.01%
35.Bulgaria$6,971,0000.01%
36.Trinidad/Tobago$5,893,0000.01%
37.Belgium$5,456,0000.01%
38.Pakistan$5,425,0000.01%
39.Kenya$4,555,0000.005%
40.Albania$4,215,0000.005%
41.Bolivia$4,069,0000.004%
42.Germany$3,863,0000.004%
43.Poland$3,204,0000.003%
44.Hungary$2,507,0000.003%
45.Thailand$2,300,0000.002%
46.Angola$1,816,0000.002%
47.Romania$1,712,0000.002%
48.Slovakia$1,519,0000.002%
49.United Kingdom$1,116,0000.001%
50.Czech Republic$929,0000.001%
51.Switzerland$825,0000.001%
52.Zimbabwe$681,0000.001%
53.Bangladesh$595,0000.001%
54.Myanmar (Burma)$551,0000.001%
55.Uganda$440,0000.0005%
56.Italy$278,0000.0003%
57.Morocco$266,0000.0003%
58.Bosnia/Herzegovina$247,0000.0003%
59.South Korea$154,0000.0002%
60.United Arab Emirates$130,0000.0001%
61.Japan$107,0000.0001%
62.Croatia$79,0000.0001%
63.Madagascar$26,0000.00003%
64.Serbia$23,0000.00002%
65.Estonia$18,0000.00002%
66.Namibia$18,0000.00002%
67.Denmark$16,0000.00002%
68.Slovenia$16,0000.00002%
69.Singapore$14,0000.00002%
70.Paraguay$9,0000.00001%
71.Kuwait$7,0000.00001%
72.New Caledonia$4,0000.000004%
73.Gabon$4,0000.000004%
74.Egypt$3,0000.000003%
75.Uruguay$3,0000.000003%
76.Eswatini$2,0000.000002%
77.North Macedonia$2,0000.000002%
78.Greece$2,0000.000002%
79.Democr. Rep. Congo$2,0000.000002%
80.Algeria$2,0000.000002%
81.Nepal$2,0000.000002%
82.Jamaica$2,0000.000002%
83.Niger$1,0000.000001%
84.Mali$1,0000.000001%
85.Austria$1,0000.000001%
86.Tunisia$1,0000.000001%


See also Iron Ore Imports by Country, Australia’s Top 10 Exports and Australia’s Top Trading Partners Partners

Research Sources:
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 29, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on August 1, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 29, 2019

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 29, 2019

Wikipedia, Iron ore mining companies. Accessed on April 29, 2019