As the Australian ports that serve half the world’s seaborne iron ore trade brace for Tropical Cyclone Rusty, iron prices are expected to maintain or increase slightly from the current $151/metric ton (mt) thanks to falling port supplies in China, which consumes nearly two-thirds of the world’s iron ore.

For the third consecutive time, import prices hit 62% in wake of iron ore fines at the northeast mainland Port of Tianjin, while overall stockpiles fell precipitously from 100 million mt in 2012. At the same time, iron ore value also hit a 16-month high this month. Chinese iron ore prices have also exceeded imports this month for the first time since December, which could increase global demands for Australian and Brazilian ore.