SYDNEY, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Australian shipments of iron ore to China looked to have stayed strong in August, a month after Australia boasted its second-highest exports ever to the Asian giant and a sign of healthy demand for resources.
Iron ore exports to China from Port Hedland, which handles about a fifth of the global seaborne market for the steel-making raw material, rose 9 percent in August from July.
Ore shipments of 22.3 million tonnes were up a hefty 33 percent on August last year and not far from all-time highs hit in May. Since the figures are released just a few days after the end of the month, they offer a timely leading indicator of demand in China.
Australia is the single largest supplier of the ore to China, ahead of Brazil.
Iron ore is Australia's single biggest export earner, bringing in around A$60 billion ($54.9 billion) in a good year. The strength of shipments increases the chance that Australia will report a trade surplus for August, and also add to economic growth.