Vale Japan Iron Sales Not Impacted By Quake

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Vale, the world's largest iron ore producer, said its shipments to Japan have not been impacted by the largest-ever earthquake to strike the country and the subsequent nuclear disaster Japan now faces. The Brazilian company said that Japanese customers continue to honor contracts.

Vale (VALE) said it is willing to help Japanese customers that are facing difficulties, Bloomberg News reported. There is speculation that the global iron ore market may be adversely impacted by the closure of Japanese steel mills, a scenario that may cause demand to decline in the near-term.

Japan's biggest steelmakers, Nippon Steel Corp. and JFE Inc., have restarted blast furnaces near Tokyo after a halt triggered by the earthquake, according to Bloomberg. Nearly 11% of Vale's annual iron ore output is sold to Japanese customers, an amount equivalent to 31 million metric tons.

Vale also noted that its Japanese nickel plant remains operational following the natural disasters.