UBS: Rio Tinto Limited tipped to surge ahead on iron ore exports   

Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) is set to publish its quarterly production data results this week, and according to UBS, the iron ore giant is set to exceed expectations and meet its 2017 export targets.

UBS estimates Rio shipped 32.5 million tonnes over December 2017, 17% more than what was shipped in November.  

Rio’s impressive export performance has been complemented by a rise of 36% in iron ore prices over the last 3 months. Competitors have also benefited from the surge, with Port Hedland (host to BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited’s (ASX: FMG) operations) recording iron ore exports of 46.19 million tonnes in total in December 2017.  

Despite strong iron ore prices, BHP is lagging behind export predictions of 275 million to 280 million tonnes of iron ore from Western Australia in 2018, and Fortescue is predicted to produce export figures 8% lower than the September quarter due to unplanned maintenance last year.  

Rio, BHP and Fortescue are scheduled to announce production data from early this week.  

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