Iron ore prices stayed clear of double digits on Monday on shrinking stockpiles in China, responsible for more than 70% of the world’s seaborne iron ore trade, and persistent fears about supply from Brazil, the globe’s no.2 supplier.
According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were exchanging hands for $100.45 a tonne on Monday, just off the 9-month highs last week.
On the Dalian commodities exchanges, iron ore futures set a fresh record high of $108.92 a tonne, up more 20% from early April. Dalian launched iron ore futures trading in 2013.
China forges more than half the world’s steel and plants have been ramping up output and sucking in imports at a record pace.
“Steel margins in China continue to trend higher, whilst there are concerns over Brazilian supply, amid the covid-19 outbreak,” commodity strategists at ING said in a note quoted by Reuters.
Drawdowns have brought port stockpiles to just over 109 million tonnes, as of Friday, the lowest since November 2016, according to SteelHome consultancy data.
Copper trading in New York jumped more than 2% to $2.4775 a pound ($5,460 a tonne) in afternoon trade, bring the bellwether metal’s gains since its mid-March low to more than 25%.
CNBC reports Bank of America analysts increased their price forecast for copper in 2020 by 5.4% to $5,620 per tonne.
Given its widespread use in industry and construction, the expected contraction in the global economy this year could translate into double digit declines in copper consumption according to BofA:
However, they questioned whether falls in purchases to such a degree were realistic, and suggested that while Western economies may not completely mirror the rebound seen in China, the easing of lockdown measures would likely facilitate a rise in raw material purchases around the world.
“We also note that the current recession is different to the usual downturns on various other metrics: the epicenter is in services, not manufacturing; governments are gearing up to implement remarkable fiscal stimulus packages, reflected in China’s NPC and Europe’s Next Generation EU initiative,” the note read.