Iron ore free fall wreaks havoc with main producers

It’s been a bad week for iron ore, with all indices steeply lower on Friday for a second consecutive day.

Ore with 62% content in Qingdao lost $3.47 a tonne to close at $61.73 Friday, a fresh eight-month low.

Ore with 62% content in Qingdao lost $3.47 a tonne to close at $61.73, data from the Metal Bulletin shows, which means it has fallen nearly $7 a tonne over the past four days, hitting an eight-month low.

Futures in Dalian haven't done any better. After they hit their limit down yesterday and closed 7% down, they fell again overnight to their lowest since January in early trading. It means they dropped down again today by their daily limit of 8% at Rmb458.5 ($66.48).

Falls were also seen in the steel market. China’s spot rebar prices dropped further on Friday as sellers attempted to offload their materials on fears of the market weakening further, Metal Bulletin analysts wrote.

“Seller lowered their prices in an attempt to secure more sales as they are worried that the steel market would experience a bigger downside during the coming weekend. But buyers still stayed away from the market, as they too are expecting billet and rebar prices to fall further,” they noted.

Producers, particularly the small ones, have been hit the hardest. But the big four— Vale, BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue — haven’t escaped either, as this graphic shows:

Iron ore free fall wrecks havoc with main producers stocks

Source: Google Finance.

Some believe the current drop in prices have its roots in mounting inventory at Chinese ports, though recent reports say they have started to wane.

Others, blame an ongoing glut that has worsened due to that fresh supply coming from recently opened mines, for the weaker prices.

Friday’s selling spree had a contagious effect across the broader global commodities markets. Oil prices slumped close to five-months lows after an almost 5 % drop in the previous session on concerns over rising US supply, erasing all of the price gains since OPEC's move to curb output.

Coking coal futures were off 4.1% at Rmb1,028.5 a tonne after closing down 3.7% the previous session, during which they almost hit the limit-down by falling 7.9%.