The Northern China import price of 62% Fe content ore enjoyed another day of solid gains on Friday to trade up 2.1% at $68.00 per dry metric tonne according to data supplied by The Steel Index. Higher grade iron ore with 65% iron ore content topped $80 a tonne for the first time in two weeks.
Iron ore has recovered 10.6% in value since hitting five-month lows earlier this month and the steelmaking raw material is still trading in positive territory compared to this time last year. The recovery comes on the back of higher steel prices in China which consumes nearly three-quarters of the world’s seaborne ore.
Iron ore’s fightback comes despite dire predictions for the price outlook.
In a report released this week BMI Research forecasts prices are entering a multi-year slump, averaging lower each year through to 2021. The forecasters expect the commodity to average $70 a tonne this year (year-to-date the average price is just under $82), $55 in 2018, and decline to $46 by 2021, on rising supplies from Australia and Brazil.
On the demand side stockpiles in China has been a major factor behind iron ore’s slide from near triple digits in February. According to this week’s Umetal’s survey of the 42 largest ports in China, total iron ore inventories have stayed near record highs at more than 132 million tonnes.
Elevated stocks have not dampened importer enthusiasm however with total imports for the first quarter climbing 12% to 271 million tonnes after the second highest cargo volumes recorded in March of 95.6m tonnes.