All aboard the Chinese iron express: BHP joins Rio Tinto and Vale in new trading platform

Diversified miner BHP Billiton (NYSE:RIO) today became the third iron giant to join the new China Beijing Metals Exchange (CBMX), only a few days after competitors Vale (NYSE:VALE) and Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) did the same.

The move, considered by analysts as a victory in the push to make the new platform the key market for iron ore, will allow BHP to sell spot iron ore directly into China through the electronic trading platform.

BHP, the last of Australia's large iron ore producers to join the CBMX, will still favour the Singapore-based Global Ore platform, reports The Sydney Morning Herald: 

“Consistent with our practice of selling at the market clearing price of the day, BHP Billiton is in principle supportive of any initiative aimed at improving market transparency and liquidity," a spokeswoman for BHP said.

"We have long advocated in favour of platforms that support transparency and liquidity, and welcome the opportunity to support and formally commit to such initiatives as Global Ore and the China spot trading platform."

With BHP aboard, the Beijing-based trading platform can now say its members include the main iron ore producers in the world.

Combined BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto control nearly 70% of the 1 billion tonne annual iron ore seaborne trade.

China Beijing Metals Exchange starts operations on May 8.