Iron Ore Imports by Country

Iron Ore Imports by Country

Iron nuts and bolts

Globally, purchases of imported iron ore totaled US114.9 billion in 2018. Overall, the value of iron ore imports for all importing countries dropped by an average -22.6% since 2014 when iron ore purchases were valued at $148.5 billion. Year over year, the value of iron ore imports fell by -1.2% from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, Asian countries consumed the highest dollar worth of iron ore imported from foreign markets with purchases costing $97.9 billion or 85.3% of the worldwide total. In second place were importers in Europe at 11.5. Smaller percentages belong to buyers in North America (1.5%), Africa (1.1%), Latin America (0.6%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.04%) led by Australia.

For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 2601 for iron ores and concentrates including roasted iron pyrites.

Iron Ore Imports by Country

Top 15

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

  1. China: US$75 billion (65.3% of total iron ore imports)
  2. Japan: $9.3 billion (8.1%)
  3. South Korea: $5.4 billion (4.7%)
  4. Germany: $3.6 billion (3.1%)
  5. Netherlands: $2.3 billion (2%)
  6. Taiwan: $1.9 billion (1.7%)
  7. France: $1.3 billion (1.2%)
  8. Malaysia: $1.1 billion (0.9%)
  9. India: $1 billion (0.9%)
  10. Egypt: $1 billion (0.9%)
  11. Turkey: $995.4 million (0.9%)
  12. United Kingdom: $783.2 million (0.7%)
  13. Canada: $769 million (0.7%)
  14. Italy: $712.7 million (0.6%)
  15. Belgium: $691.9 million (0.6%)

The listed 15 countries purchased 92.2% of all iron ore imports in 2018.

Three among the above countries increased purchases of iron ore from international markets since 2014 namely Malaysia (up 116.5%), Egypt (up 91.2%) and India (up 52.5%).

Those countries that posted declines in their imported iron ore purchases were led by: United Kingdom (down -47.4%), Japan (down -41.5%), South Korea (down -36.5%) and Italy (down -30.2%).

China

Iron Ore Imports into China

Below are the top 15 suppliers from which China imported the highest dollar value worth of iron ore during 2018. Within parenthesis is the percentage change in value for each supplying country.

  1. Australia: US$45.2 billion (down -16.7% from 2014)
  2. Brazil: $18.2 billion (up 1.2%)
  3. South Africa: $3.2 billion (down -34%)
  4. India: $1.2 billion (up 45.1%)
  5. Iran: $1.1 billion (down -39.9%)
  6. Peru: $1 billion (up 2.1%)
  7. Chile: $939 million (down -26.2%)
  8. Ukraine: $866.8 million (down -61.8%)
  9. Canada: $728.8 million (down -47.3%)
  10. Mauritania: $545.5 million (down -42.1%)
  11. Mongolia: $360.8 million (down -22.9%)
  12. Russia: $264.4 million (down -61%)
  13. Kazakhstan: $237.4 million (down -33%)
  14. Venezuela: $191.5 million (down -22.2%)
  15. Malaysia: $157.1 million (down -76.9%)

The listed 15 countries shipped 98.9% of China’s iron ore imported in 2018.

Three among the above countries boosted suppliers of iron ore to China since 2014 namely India (up 45.1%), Peru (up 2.1%) and Brazil (up 1.2%).

Countries that experienced declines in the value of their iron ore supplied to Chinese importers included: Malaysia (down -76.9%), Ukraine (down -61.8%), Russia (down -61%) and Canada (down -47.3%).

Overall, the value of China’s iron ore imports decelerated by an average -19.7% from all supplying countries since 2014 when iron ore purchases were valued at $93.4 billion.

Japan

Iron Ore Imports into Japan

Below are the top 15 suppliers from which Japan imported the highest dollar value worth of iron ore during 2018. Within parenthesis is the percentage change in value for each supplying country.

  1. Australia: US$4.6 billion (down -48.6% from 2014)
  2. Brazil: $2.9 billion (down -38.6%)
  3. Canada: $611.6 million (up 17.8%)
  4. South Africa: $342.6 million (down -61.2%)
  5. Chile: $197.5 million (up 61.1%)
  6. United States: $192.6 million (up 1,604%)
  7. Ukraine: $134.9 million (down -19.2%)
  8. India: $134.5 million (down -38.1%)
  9. Mauritania: $72.6 million (no 2014 data)
  10. Peru: $42.6 million (down -20.8%)
  11. Russia: $40.9 million (down -79.1%)
  12. China: $15.8 million (up 26,160%)
  13. New Zealand: $3.1 million (down -79.7%)
  14. South Korea: $634,000 (down -77.6%)
  15. Sweden: $14,000 (down -99.9%)

The listed 15 countries shipped virtually 100% of Japan’s iron ore imported in 2018.

Four among the above countries expanded their sales of iron ore to Japan since 2014 namely China (up 26,160%), United States (up 1,604%), Chile (up 61.1%) and Canada (up 17.8%).

Countries that experienced declines in the value of their iron ore supplied to Japanese importers included: Sweden (down -99.9%), New Zealand (down -79.7%), Russia (down -79.1%) and South Korea (down -77.6%).

Overall, the value of Japan’s iron ore imports slowed by an average -41.5% from all supplying countries since 2014 when iron ore purchases were valued at $15.9 billion.

South Korea

Iron Ore Imports into South Korea

Below are the top 15 suppliers from which South Korea imported the highest dollar value worth of iron ore during 2018. Within parenthesis is the percentage change in value for each supplying country.

  1. Australia: US$3.4 billion (down -40% from 2014)
  2. Brazil: $952.6 million (down -51.9%)
  3. South Africa: $441.1 million (up 1.4%)
  4. Canada: $229.4 million (down -20.9%)
  5. India: $132.8 million (up 132.2%)
  6. Chile: $115.7 million (up 355.8%)
  7. Ukraine: $91.1 million (no 2014 data)
  8. United States: $32.2 million (up 247853.8%)
  9. Qatar: $4.2 million (no 2014 data)
  10. China: $103,000 (down -47.4%)
  11. Netherlands: $27,000 (up 42.1%)
  12. Thailand: $9,000 (no 2014 data)
  13. Costa Rica: $6,000 (no 2014 data)
  14. Russia: $4,000 (down -100%)
  15. Sweden: $4,000 (down -69.2%)

The listed 15 countries shipped 100% of South Korea’s iron ore imported in 2018.

Among the above countries, the fastest-growing suppliers of iron ore to South Korea since 2014 were: United States (up 247,854%), Chile (up 355.8%), India (up 132.2%) and Netherlands (up 42.1%).

Countries that experienced declines in the value of their iron ore supplied to South Korean importers included: Russia (down -100%), Sweden (down -69.2%), Brazil (down -51.9%) and China (down -47.4%).

Overall, the value of South Korea’s iron ore imports retreated by an average -36.5% from all supplying countries since 2014 when iron ore purchases were valued at $8.5 billion.

Germany

Iron Ore Imports into Germany

Below are the top 15 suppliers from which Germany imported the highest dollar value worth of iron ore during 2018. Within parenthesis is the percentage change in value for each supplying country.

  1. Brazil: US$1.4 billion (down -44.9% from 2014)
  2. Canada: $696 million (down -16.5%)
  3. Sweden: $612.2 million (down -20.3%)
  4. South Africa: $292.3 million (up 23.5%)
  5. Ukraine: $198.9 million (up 86.7%)
  6. Russia: $138.9 million (up 221.5%)
  7. Mauritania: $105.9 million (down -18.5%)
  8. Australia: $34.5 million (no 2014 data)
  9. Liberia: $28.5 million (up 192.2%)
  10. Luxembourg: $14.7 million (no 2014 data)
  11. Norway: $5.5 million (down -84%)
  12. Venezuela: $4.5 million (no 2014 data)
  13. United States: $4.4 million (up 21.2%)
  14. Finland: $2 million (down -13.3%)
  15. Netherlands: $1.5 million (down -90.3%)

The listed 15 countries shipped 99.9% of Germany’s iron ore imported in 2018.

Among the above countries, the fastest-growing suppliers of iron ore to Germany since 2014 were: Russia (up 221.5%), Liberia (up 192.2%), Ukraine (up 86.7%) and South Africa (up 23.5%).

Countries that experienced declines in the value of their iron ore supplied to German importers included: Netherlands (down -90.3%), Norway (down -84%), Brazil (down -44.9%) and Sweden (down -20.3%).

Overall, the value of Germany’s iron ore imports slipped by an average -25.4% from all supplying countries since 2014 when iron ore purchases were valued at $4.8 billion.



 

Searchable List of Iron Ore Importing Countries in 2018

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

RankImporterIron Ore Imports%World Total
1.China$75 billion65.3%
2.Japan$9.3 billion8.1%
3.South Korea$5.4 billion4.7%
4.Germany$3.6 billion3.1%
5.Netherlands$2.3 billion2%
6.Taiwan$1.9 billion1.7%
7.France$1.3 billion1.2%
8.Malaysia$1.1 billion0.9%
9.India$1 billion0.9%
10.Egypt$1 billion0.9%
11.Turkey$995.4 million0.9%
12.United Kingdom$783.2 million0.7%
13.Canada$769 million0.7%
14.Italy$712.7 million0.6%
15.Belgium$691.9 million0.6%
16.United States$651.6 million0.6%
17.Slovakia$586.4 million0.5%
18.Bahrain$574 million0.5%
19.Spain$571.4 million0.5%
20.Poland$545.2 million0.5%
21.Czech Republic$539.7 million0.5%
22.Vietnam$529.7 million0.5%
23.Oman$493 million0.4%
24.Argentina$470.6 million0.4%
25.Russia$465.1 million0.4%
26.Indonesia$403.7 million0.4%
27.Saudi Arabia$376.3 million0.3%
28.Finland$371.1 million0.3%
29.Philippines$324.1 million0.3%
30.Mexico$295.4 million0.3%
31.Romania$255.2 million0.2%
32.Serbia$249.9 million0.2%
33.United Arab Emirates$241.4 million0.2%
34.Qatar$237.4 million0.2%
35.Trinidad/Tobago$230.8 million0.2%
36.Hungary$196.8 million0.2%
37.Libya$125.4 million0.1%
38.South Africa$61.5 million0.1%
39.Algeria$45.1 million0.04%
40.Australia$42.8 million0.04%
41.Sweden$21.2 million0.02%
42.Mozambique$13.2 million0.01%
43.North Korea$12.3 million0.01%
44.Kazakhstan$10.9 million0.01%
45.Chile$10.2 million0.01%
46.Bahamas$9.5 million0.01%
47.Ukraine$8.3 million0.01%
48.Norway$4.9 million0.004%
49.Denmark$4.3 million0.004%
50.Iraq$3.2 million0.003%
51.Belarus$3 million0.003%
52.Kyrgyzstan$2.3 million0.002%
53.Switzerland$1.8 million0.002%
54.Iceland$1.7 million0.001%
55.Nepal$1.1 million0.001%
56.Singapore$802,0000.001%
57.Thailand$659,0000.001%
58.Armenia$581,0000.001%
59.Tajikistan$553,0000.0005%
60.Kenya$440,0000.0004%
61.Ireland$438,0000.0004%
62.Estonia$428,0000.0004%
63.Lithuania$329,0000.0003%
64.Portugal$284,0000.0002%
65.Paraguay$266,0000.0002%
66.Israel$266,0000.0002%
67.Latvia$258,0000.0002%
68.Bulgaria$246,0000.0002%
69.Barbados$216,0000.0002%
70.New Zealand$161,0000.0001%
71.Morocco$155,0000.0001%
72.Croatia$141,0000.0001%
73.Iran$132,0000.0001%
74.Slovenia$117,0000.0001%
75.Georgia$115,0000.0001%
76.Tanzania$114,0000.0001%
77.Turkmenistan$110,0000.0001%
78.Pakistan$107,0000.0001%
79.Bosnia/Herzegovina$78,0000.0001%
80.Guinea$77,0000.0001%
81.Cyprus$75,0000.0001%
82.Greece$66,0000.0001%
83.Kuwait$63,0000.0001%
84.Mongolia$55,0000.00005%
85.Peru$38,0000.00003%
86.Guatemala$38,0000.00003%
87.Myanmar (Burma)$34,0000.00003%
88.Botswana$33,0000.00003%
89.Lebanon$33,0000.00003%
90.El Salvador$23,0000.00002%
91.Malta$23,0000.00002%
92.North Macedonia$18,0000.00002%
93.New Caledonia$15,0000.00001%
94.Colombia$14,0000.00001%
95.Dominican Republic$10,0000.00001%
96.Brazil$10,0000.00001%
97.Luxembourg$10,0000.00001%
98.Venezuela$10,0000.00001%
99.Albania$9,0000.00001%
100.Zambia$9,0000.00001%
101.Moldova$8,0000.00001%
102.Nigeria$8,0000.00001%
103.Mali$7,0000.00001%
104.Angola$7,0000.00001%
105.Ghana$6,0000.00001%
106.Cameroon$4,0000.000003%
107.Madagascar$4,0000.000003%
108.Eswatini$4,0000.000003%
109.Sri Lanka$2,0000.000002%
110.Austria$2,0000.000002%
111.Bangladesh$1,0000.000001%
112.Democr. Rep. Congo$1,0000.000001%
113.Mauritania$1,0000.000001%


See also Iron Ore Exports by Country and China’s Top Trading Partners

Research Sources:
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 29, 2019

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