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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Daily iron ore price update (destocking)

by Chris Becker Iron ore continued its surge yesterday with spot Tianjin prices up above the $107 barrier, while 12month futures gained, but shorter term prices slipped alongside rebar and coking coal. Here’s the table and latest charts: Iron ore imports to China have fallen to their lowest level since October 2016, according to Steelhome,


Daily iron ore price update (shipments slip)

by Chris Becker The iron ore complex played catchup to other risk markets with sizeable gains across spot and futures in China and on the SGX yesterday, although coking coal slipped slightly. Here’s the price matrix and daily charts: Iron ore shipments have slipped for the last week in China, helping support prices, down nearly


Daily iron ore price update (port inventories)

by Chris Becker Iron ore lifted around 0.5% across the complex compared to the big gains in stocks in China yesterday, the exuberance capped somewhat by the rising port inventories and confirmation that Vale is ready to bring back its lost production in the next quarter. Here’s the price matrix and daily charts: More on


Daily iron ore price update (Brazick)

Iron ore prices for June 19, 2020: Everything roughly stable on Friday. Port stocks edged up. One bearish signal has emerged, the BDI: Via Reuters: “Most of the strength is due to increased Chinese steel mill demand for iron ore coupled with the increased production and exports out of Brazil,” said Randy Giveans, vice-president, equity


Brazilian lawmakers step up virus pressure on Vale

Via Reuters: The office that enforces labor laws in Brazil’s Para state has stepped up an investigation into potential shortcomings in mining giant Vale’s efforts to protect workers from the coronavirus, authorities said on Wednesday. The federal labor prosecutor’s office in Para has an internal working group in place known as the GEAF to monitor