Iron ore price, steel price and futures published daily
The contemporary seaborne iron ore price first emerged in 2003 when the Chinese development model shifted up a gear. Indian suppliers broke free of an annual contract pricing system that had been dominated by Australia, Brazil and Japan for decades.
As Chinese demand surged, traditional supply and pricing mechanisms could not keep pace. Indian miners in Goa and Karnataka had surplus supply and filled China’s marginal new needs outside the old benchmarking system.
But it still wasn’t enough and other non-traditional suppliers began to emerge in South America and Africa. These needed more dynamic pricing mechanisms and by 2008 Platts, Metal Bulletin and The Steel Index were publishing a daily iron ore price.
As the Chinese demand surge continued, by 2007, major Australian iron ore miners were charging enormous premiums to prices from five years earlier. The annual benchmarking system began to strain to the point breaking, including significant diplomatic tensions between Australia and China. This culminated in a proposed merger of BHP and RIO Tinto which triggered panic in Beijing as it feared an already supply-constrained market and soaring iron ore price would by made worse by monopoly pricing. The Chinese SOE, Chinalco, moved the buy a blocking stake in RIO Tinto.
However, the GFC intervened and deflated tensions as Chinese demand collapsed. But Chinese steel mills found themselves still tied to very high prices and an annual iron ore price benchmark that did not reflect the new reality. Many defaulted on cargoes and walked away from deals.
To fight the downturn, China unleashed an enormous fiscal and monetary stimulus that soon had China building more than ever. The demand for iron ore rocketed to all new highs. With the memory of contract defaults fresh in their minds, major Australian miners, led by BHP and CEO Marius Kloppers, abandoned the annual benchmarks, forcing Chinese steel mills to adopt a short term iron ore price using spot and quarterly contracts. Brazil joined in in 2010.
The spot iron ore price soared to all new highs and triggered a global wave of new supply from producers such as Fortescue Metals Group, Ferrexpo, Kumba Iron Ore, Anglo American and Sino Iron.
With the rise of the short term iron ore price market, iron ore derivative markets grew. First in the Singapore on the SGX and later in China as the Dalian Commodities Exchange and the United States at Chicago Commodities Exchange (CME). Iron ore derivatives could hedge and future price iron ore output.
These last developments coincided with the peak in the China boom and prices began to fall from 2012. After peaking above $190 per tonne, the iron ore price collapsed into the $30s in 2015 as new supply outstripped demand.
Ahead were still many years of oversupply, a lower iron ore price, consolidation and mine closures.
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Iron ore prices for March 25, 2020: News is Wood Mac has turnied bearish following resilient prices “This is largely due to the resilience of Chinese hot metal production, coinciding with supply-side constraints in Brazil and Australia. …iron ore’s sell-off over the past few days is the start of a trend, not a blip,” adding
Iron ore price charts for March 23, 2020: Spot smashed. Paper too. Steel fell. Port sotcks fell away to 123.7mt. I was all ready to declare the crash at hand. No cigar. Via Bloomie: South Africa will close its mines for an unprecedented 21 days as part of a nationwide lockdown announced by President Cyril
Iron ore prices for March 18, 2020: Dalian was boosted yesterday by this: Brazilian iron ore producer Vale has shut its Teluk Rubiah iron ore blending terminal in Malaysia until 31 March to comply with a lockdown aimed at slowing the coronavirus outbreak. The Malaysian government has asked Vale to halt operations at the terminal
This from Vale: Vale informs on developments related to the outbreak of the coronavirus Rio de Janeiro, March 12th, 2020 – Vale S.A. (“Vale”) would like to take this opportunity to formally update the market on the steps and policies that it is taking to safeguard its employees and its business operations from the threats
Iron ore prices for March 13, 2020: Spot up. Paper to the moon. Steel strong. This is a nonsnese market now. Check this out: China’s latest steel inventories are now 25mt above last year. That’s 40mt of iron ore right there which more than accounts for mill and port lowish inventories of dirt. The outlook
Iron ore prices for March 9, 2020: Spot down. Paper too. But it’s the calm that impresses. Port stocks eased agin last week to 126.25mt. China is relatively short of iron inventory after last year’s Vale-inspired draw down. That said, I still don’t get why steel prices aren’t crashing amid the glut. Still lot’s of
Iron ore price update for March 6, 2020: Spot was down. Paper too. Chinese imports of iron ore for January/February were 177mt, up marginally on last year. The rolling annunal measure is stalling just above zero. The oil price crash should drag iron ore lower. It is the major imput cost for mining and logistics.
Iron ore prices for March 5, 2020: We’re still flopping around between restocking on stimulus hopes and titanic steel inventories that are still rising: Longer term, the future just got a little darker, at Bloomie: China is close to giving the go-ahead for some of its biggest state-owned companies to develop the giant Simandou iron
Iron ore price charts for March 3, 2020: Spot down. Paper down. Steel up. Strong iron ore prices can to some extent be explained by shockingly weak Brazilian exports. The last three months have seen some 120mt of annualised supply offline: If it were not for COVID-19, I reckon iron ore would back above $120
Iron ore prices for March 2, 2020: Spot soared. Paper soared. Steel soared. The steel PMI cratered. Everything is too disrupted to make much sense. Argus sums up the hope: Demand for steel collapsed following the impact of the coronavirus outbreak amid delays in resuming work at downstream companies. Demand for steel from overseas markets
Iron ore prices for February 29, 2020: We are surely going to break down here across the board. China does not have great iron ore inventories but its steel pile keeps hitting new Hiamlyan heights. Now approaching 50mt with several weeks of seasonal accumulation ahead even without terrible demand: And local mines should reopen. Aside
Iron ore prices for February 27, 2020: Breaking down but no panic yet. A few days ago I printed a chart showing huge rebar inventories. Alas the data was lifted from a mis-reporting article in The Australian. Here is the real chart: The pile is still huge when we add mills and traders, assuming Goldman
Iron ore prices for February 25, 2020: Prices are treading water now rather than rising. I still say big falls are ahead as seasonal weakness in supply fades and steel inventories push mills to cut production owing to weak end-useer demand. Via Argus: Mills are meeting domestic orders for February that were received before the
Iron ore prices for February 24, 2020: Everything roughly flat. Iron ore port stocks fell to 128.6mt: I suspect virus-troubled local production may be supporting seaborne prices in the short term. I don’t expect it to last as the massive steel pile leads to output cuts soon. Chian remains substantially shut. If you’re looking at
Iron ore prices for Febraury 29, 2020: The miracle price boomlet goes on. Mills are restocking like zombies, via Bloomie: The collapse in economic activity amid China’s unprecedented measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak means there are few buyers of steel, which has sent prices tumbling and put margins under intense pressure. However it’s difficult
Iron ore prices for February 19, 2020: Spot is again struggling versus paper. Different miners are saying different things: Australian miner Fortescue said that its iron ore shipments remain on schedule and that it had not had any issues with customer payments as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in its main market of China.
Coronavirus leads to GDP downgrades The outbreak of the coronavirus has forced downward revisions to our GDP forecasts from our (US, China, & Global) economists (2020e GDP growth -20bp to 2.9%). The downgrades have been most severe in 1) China & 2) Q1 2020. While uncertainty over the severity and duration of the outbreak remains,
Via UBS: Checking in with Platts Steel Raw Material Analysts We hosted Paul Bartholomew (Senior Managing Editor, Steel Markets) and Jeffery Lu (Managing Editor, Met Coal) to discuss their respective markets and COVID-19. While the LT implications of the outbreak remain uncertain, the immediate impact on productivity is becoming apparent. Platts is concerned that the