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Australia's Fortescue trims annual iron ore shipments guidance after cyclone

Australian iron ore Miner Fortescue Metals reported flat third-quarter iron ore shipments on Thursday, as it trimmed its annual shipments forecast after cyclone Veronica.

Fortescue Metals trimmed its annual shipments forecast because of disruptions caused by a tropical cyclone.

It cut its fiscal 2019 shipments estimate to 165 million- 170 million tonnes, down from 165 million -173 million tonnes.

Fortescue Share price

Shares of Fortescue Metals have risen as much as 1.8% on Thursday to A$7.560 after dropping over 8% in the previous session

The top miner of the steelmaking commodity shipped 38.3 million tonnes in the quarter to March 31, compared with 38.7 million tonnes in the same period last year.

Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said: ‘Closure of the Port Hedland port, combined with localised flooding in the area caused by Tropical Cyclone Veronica in late March, resulted in the loss of five days of shipments equating to 2.5 million tonnes,’

Cyclone impact

Tropical cyclone Veronica impacted the surge in iron ore prices, propelling Fortescue’s stock upto 80% higher in 2019.
Fortescue has attempted to hike up demand by moving to produce higher grade iron ore, after its lower grade products fell out of popularity with Chinese buyers.

The company recently started shipping mid-grade iron ore to pump up its margins, and reiterated that it expected to deliver 8-10 million tonnes of the new product in fiscal 2019.

Fortescue said it would spend about $2.6 billion with a Taiwanese partner to develop a "premium product" iron ore project in Western Australia.

'The Iron Bridge product will increase our average grade, providing Fortescue with the ability to deliver the majority of our products at greater than 60 percent iron grade,' Gaines said.

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