Port Hedland may clear ships as storm builds off Australia

Galtero Lara
Enero 14, 2018

Australia's weather bureau has cut the forecast strength of a cyclone bearing down on the continent's far northwest on Friday.

The storm is forecast to cross the sparsely-populated coast about 250km northeast from Port Hedland later on Friday.

The region is home to numerous world's largest iron ore mines, with Port Hedland last month accounting for over 41 million tonnes of exports, nearly all bound for Chinese steel mills.

However the very destructive winds previously forecast are no longer expected and once the storm makes landfall it is predicted to weaken as it travels inland.

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All vessels were cleared from the port yesterday and the Pilbara Ports Authority confirmed the harbour would be closed from 6.30pm last night.

The storm is the second to menace Australia's northwest in as many weeks.

On average, there are 10 to 13 tropical cyclones between November and April in the Australian region, four of which typically cross the coast, data from the bureau shows. Market participants had expected greater disruptions to supply as a result of the cyclone, and these concerns led to iron ore prices being given a boost on Thursday, a mill source in north China told Metal.

Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange were down 2 percent in trading at the Shanghai Futures Exchange, after falling 0.4 percent in the previous session.

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