Brazil’s iron ore shipments to the mainland dropped steeply in the first half of August as shipments from Australia recovered from their previous low levels, Reuters reported. Spot iron ore vessel bookings from Brazil declined to five in the first half of the month, down from their July high of 39, according to data from AXS Marine. Vessel bookings from Australia stood at 15 so far this month. Shipments from Australia tanked in July after arguments erupted over a rejected bid by Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco) to increase its stake in Australian mining giant Rio Tinto and the failure of the China Iron and Steel Association to negotiate deeper discounts on iron ore contracts with Rio and BHP Billiton. Brazil’s Vale do Rio Dolce also failed to agree to break ranks and give China discounts, but China nevertheless temporarily shifted most of its orders to Brazil.