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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Here is the iron ore price table for November 13th: Given neither steel prices not the 12m wants to budge, it’s worth revisiting the spreads we follow. First between the 12 month swap and spot: And between rebar and spot: And then the above chart expressed as a spread percentage: Now that’s what I call
Find above the ore complex price table for November 12. The news today is all in the other bulks, where we find a little bounce happening for both coals, coking and thermal, on improving Chinese data. From ANZ: Newc physical FOB thermal coal prices rose, in line with better China data. Electricity production in China rose
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.
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.
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
Above find today’s iron ore complex chart. As predicted, the 12m/spot spread is now reverted to mean, but it looks like the the spot price is set to drag up the 12m, not other way around. Before we get to that, Port Hedland yesterday released its October shipping volumes: The big improver was China, which
Find below the new “Aussie Mine” report from PWC, an annual assessment of the landscape and prospects for the mid-tier Australian miners. I don’t recommend reading this for any other reason than the good laugh available in the assessment of China from pages 3 to 7. If ever there was a report that captured the
Here is today’s iron ore complex table, which is the reverse of yesterday: However, the big news today is all about the news (as it were). Australia’s economic godfather, Ross Garnaut, spent most of yesterday throwing his wayward children into a blast furnace for daring to dream of an endless commodities boom. “In China thermal
The RBA’s index of commodity prices for October is out and continues its recent dump. If you’re wondering why since iron ore has been powering it’s simple, longer term coal contracts are now getting lowered following falls earlier in the year: Preliminary estimates for October indicate that the index fell by 3.5 per cent (on a monthly
Today’s iron complex table is weak across the board. And, apparently, “analysts” agree that the rally is in peril! From Reuters: Iron ore prices may drop nearly 10 percent over the next three years as top consumer China’s economic growth shifts to a slower gear. …Iron ore is forecast to average $120 per tonne in 2013, down
More sideways action! And the big news of the day? BHP in full reverse gear: BHP Billiton has slashed more than 150 million tonnes of annual iron ore production from its Pilbara iron ore expansion plans in response to the recent price shock in the key steel-making raw material. The cuts are potentially worth $US18
Here is today’s iron ore price table: To the charts. Here is the iron ore price: Chinese steel: Thermal coal: Post inventories, which still show little signs of restocking: ANZ release a report Friday suggesting recent falls in the Baltic Dry may suggest the rally is topping for iron ore. The same message has been
Courtesy of ANZ: Iron ore prices improved slightly after China flash manufacturing data showed an improvement. However, thermal and coking coal markets continue to track sideways on weak China imports. China’s combined coal imports in Sep showed a 22% y/y decline to 14.9mt. Thermal coal imports declined 18%y/y to 12.4mt in Sep 2011, while coking
Here is today’s iron ore chart: Definitely looks like the spot market wants to test the $120 ceiling. 12 month swaps aren’t co-operating and the contango is gone but the spread has often been much wider than this so that may not hold spot back: As I’ve said, though, anything over $120 now has highly
All quiet on the Westoren front today. Not much else to read either beyond a bit bullish blather from UBS: Iron ore will probably advance this quarter to levels last seen in July as steelmakers in China, the biggest buyer, rebuild inventories on speculation that the country’s pace of economic growth will pick up, said
So, your table is below: A good day yesterday for iron ore but less so for its underpinnings. The news was not much better for steel with the release of the September figures for global steel production by the by the World Steel Association: World crude steel production for the 62 countries reporting to the