SYDNEY Jan 6 (Reuters) - Iron ore shipments from Australia's Port Hedland, one of the world's largest export terminals, rose to 21.4 million tonnes in December from 19.8 million tonnes in November, data released by the port authority on Friday showed.
The modest rise suggested a period of destocking of inventories by Chinese steel mills early in the fourth quarter of 2011 had concluded, according to ore traders.
BHP Billiton is the port's biggest user, followed by Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. Both companies ship the bulk of their ore to
Iron ore prices in
Offer prices for 61.5 percent Pilbara fines rose $1 to$139-141 per tonne including cost and freight on Friday, industry consultancy Umetal said, and they have now increased $3since markets reopened on Wednesday.
The major indexes have also made gains, and Platts' 62 percent index ended at $141.5 per tonne on Thursday, up 1.8 percent from the previous close.