Which Country Imports the Most Iron Ores and Concentrates in the World?

Iron Ores May 28, 2018
Blog Blog  /  Mining  /  Iron Ores
Author: Sergey Avramenko
Head of Global Markets Research Team

Which Country Imports the Most Iron Ores and Concentrates in the World?

IndexBox has just published a new report "World: Iron Ores And Concentrates - Market Report. Analysis and Forecast to 2025". Here is a summary of the report's key findings.

Global iron ore imports stood at 3,127M tonnes in 2016, remaining relatively unchanged against the previous year figure. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.4% from 2007 to 2016- however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations throughout the analyzed period. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2009, an increase of 6% against the previous year level. Global iron ore import peaked in 2016, and are expected to retain its growth in the near future.

In value terms, iron ore imports amounted to $83B in 2016. In general, iron ore imports continue to indicate a tangible increase. Over the period under review, global iron ore imports attained its maximum level of $177B in 2011- however, from 2012 to 2016, it stood at a somewhat lower level.

Top Iron Ore Importing Countries in the World

1. China (58.0 billion USD)

2. Japan (7.3 billion USD)

3. South Korea (4.1 billion USD)

4. Ukraine (0.3 billion USD)

5. India (0.2 billion USD)

6. Australia (0.0 billion USD)

7. South Africa (0.0 billion USD)

8. Brazil (0.0 billion USD)

Iron Ore Imports By Country

In 2016, China (1,024M tonnes), and Australia (853M tonnes) represented the main importers of iron ore in the globe, together amounting to near 60% of total imports. Brazil (374M tonnes) held a 12% share (based on tonnes) of global iron ore imports, which put it in second place, following India (5%). Japan (130M tonnes), South Korea (72M tonnes), South Africa (68M tonnes), and Ukraine (50M tonnes) followed a long way behind this figure.

From 2007 to 2016, the most notable growth rate of iron ore imports, among the main importing countries, was attained by China (+11.6% per year), while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, China ($58B) constitutes the largest market for imported iron ore worldwide, making up 70% of global imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Japan ($7.3B), with the share of 9% of global imports. It was followed by South Korea, with the share of 5%.

From 2007 to 2016, the average annual rate of growth in terms of value of iron ore imports in China stood at +6.2%. In the other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: Japan (-2.0% per year) and South Korea (+4.0% per year).

Iron Ore Import Prices By Country

The average iron ore import price stood at $27 per tonne in 2016, going down by -25.0% against the previous year. Overall, iron ore import price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2008, an increase of 63% year-to-year. Over the period under review, average iron ore import price attained its maximum level of $66 per tonne in 2011- however, from 2012 to 2016, it stood at a somewhat lower level.

Import prices varied noticeably by country of destination. the country with the highest import prices was Japan ($57 per tonne), while Brazil ($0 per kg) was among the lowest.

From 2007 to 2016, the most notable growth rate of iron ore import prices was attained by India (+10.4% per year), while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Do you want to know more about global iron ore market? Get the latest trends and insight from our report. It includes a wide range of statistics on

  • iron ore market share
  • iron ore prices
  • iron ore industry
  • iron ore sales
  • iron ore import
  • iron ore export
  • iron ore market forecast
  • iron ore price forecast
  • key iron ore producers

All data provided in this article covers the following product: HS Code 2601 - Iron ores and concentrates- including roasted iron pyrites.

Source: World: Iron Ores And Concentrates - Market Report. Analysis and Forecast to 2025