UBS: Iron ore to drop as glut emerges

UBS with the note:

China steel mills restrictions could result in ~75Mt less iron ore demand in 2H…

Press reports suggest China is imposing more restrictive measures on steel production in 2H21 to ensure output is lower y/y and to meet carbon emissions goal. MySteel reports Baowu is drafting its own plan to cut volumes while Rizhao Steel and two other producers in Fujian Province have received orders from the local government to cut output. The extent of the policy is not yet clear as six other producers indicate they have not received the order to cut production; we note this policy would also be at odds with the government’s aim to deflate steel prices (albeit it could result in lower iron ore prices). China crude steel production in Jan-May has increased 13.9% y/y or 58Mt to 473Mt according to the official data. If the government order is enforced, steel output in 2H21 would fall >10% y/y (assuming Jun is +5% y/y as implied by the CISA 10-day data). This would result in pig iron production falling 46Mt (if PI: crude ratio holds) and iron ore demand falling ~75Mt in 2H21 h/h.

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