Iron ore price

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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Commodities daily

Courtesy of ANZ: Reports suggest Chinese buyers had defaulted on three Australian thermal coal imports and some from South Africa, but are unlikely to spark a wave of cancellations (that we saw in May/June). We remain cautious – China’s domestic stockpiles at power plants are high and many traders in China could face tight liquidity

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CBA makes hay with the mining bust

Late yesterday, CBA produced a note with the combined resources of its economics, commodities, currency and equities teams that argued that: With commodity prices off recent highs a question is being asked is, “Is the resource boom over?”  We put that question to CBA’s Economics, Currency,Commodity and Equities research teams. They conclude that the resource boom is a

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Traders push thermal coal rally

Courtesy of ANZ. Newc FOB physical thermal coal and Australia FOB coking coal prices firmed last week, with Asia demand showing signs of improvement for early next year loadings. Reports suggest traders were covering their short positions before closing their books or the year and ahead of Xstrata’s annual negotiations with Japanese utilities for thermal coal contracts starting in January. Reports

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Daily iron ore price update

Iron ore continued to edge higher yesterday, perhaps helped by the resolution of Chinese leadership: Not much more to say today but came across the following classic from Creamer’s Mining Weekly: While iron-ore prices appeared set to make a partial recovery, they would remain volatile, as revised Chinese growth targets and performance were likely to result

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Thermal and coking coal price rally persists

Courtesy of ANZ: Newc thermal coal futures posted stronger gains overnight. Now that China’s 18th National Congress leadership changeover has ended, we could see growth momentum pick-up. However, gains will be capped by excess Chinese coal inventories (sitting around 30 days of supply). Iron ore prices were flat around USD122/t, as China spot steel and rebar futures markets were subdued, but

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Daily iron ore price update

Find above today’s iron ore complex table. Here are the charts. Spot and 12 month swap: The spread between them is running out of room for this price level: If you think about it, the spread makes a fair amount of sense. Current iron ore demand is boosted by restocking and Chinese leadership transition hopes.

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RBA on steel and iron ore

This morning’s SoMP may have been a dead bore but there was one interesting breakout box about China’s steel market and iron ore demand. It keeps up the pretense of endless Chinese demand (which we can take with a grain of salt) but some of the details are useful. Enjoy. rba steel

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Daily iron ore price update

Find above today’s ore price complex table. In wider news, Reuters offered a good snap shot of the dynamics in the market overnight: “Most takers of cargoes are traders who are trying to keep the market up, expecting some good news for the steel sector to come out from the China congress,” said a Shanghai-based iron ore trader.

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Oakajee bites the dust

From the AFR: The future of the $6 billion Oakajee Port and Rail project in Western Australia has been cast into further doubt, with Japanese owner Mitsubishi to freeze spending and pare back its workforce on the troubled venture. Mitsubishi’s efforts to reinvigorate the project have been stymied by weakening iron ore prices, ongoing global