SYDNEY, June 5 (Reuters) - Iron ore exports to China from Australia's Port Hedland, which handles about a fifth of the global seaborne market for the steel-making raw material, eased back in July after a couple of very strong months but remained sharply higher on a year ago.
Ore shipments to China were 20.4 million tonnes in July, compared with 22.9 million tonnes in June, data released by the Port Hedland Port Authority showed. But that was still up 37 percent on July last year.
Iron ore is Australia's single biggest export earner.
Overall iron ore exports from the port were 26.6 million tonnes, against 27.4 million in June. Year-on-year, total shipments were up 36 percent.
Shipments to Japan picked up to 2.8 million tonnes in July, from 2.0 million the previous month. Shipments to South Korea also increased to 1.9 million tonnes, from 1.7 million.
Port Hedland is used by BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group and Atlas Iron to ship iron ore cargoes, which are expected to exceed 200 million tonnes this year.