Back from holidays, Chinese traders continue to chase iron ore higher

The benchmark CFR import price of 62% iron ore fines at China's Tianjin port added 1.4% or $2.10 to $157.20 on Monday.

After moving sideways during the new year's holiday week, iron ore is rallying again as the profitability of Chinese steelmakers – responsible for more than 60% of global consumption – continue to improve.

According to, 11 of the 15 largest steel enterprises in the country upped ex-factory steel prices this week.

The steelmaking raw material is now back within striking distance of 15-month highs set early January when the commodity reached of $158.50 a tonne and up an astonishing 80% from 3-and-a-half year lows set in September.

Near term the outlook remains robust.

Standard Bank reports world number two iron ore producer Rio Tinto concluded a 61.5% PB fines cargo at $160.66 a tonne – "the first on-spec physical bellwether to trade, strongly above the TSI Fe 62% close of $155.10/t across last week."

Demand in China shows no signs of slowing down.

China's General Administration of Customs reported recently iron ore imports reached 65.54 million tonnes in January 2013, up 11% year on year, but down from December all-time record of more than 70 million tonnes.

China’s iron ore imports last year totaled 743.6 million tonnes – worth some $115 billion at today's prices.



Image of Japanese Pavilion at 2010 Shanghai Expo by parkisland