India fails to enter brave new world of iron ore trading

India’s iron ore exports could halve over the next five years as the country feeds the expansion of its steel industry and resource nationalism becomes a big driver of policy in Delhi.

Lower shipments from India, which exports almost half the 200 million tonnes it produces, should help bolster prices that have more than tripled in three years before massive Australian projects come on stream around 2014.

The global trade in iron ore which not long ago featured antiquated annual contracts and secretive pricing has been transformed and Singapore will this week launch the first global iron ore futures contract.

The Globe and Mail reports in a bid to curb overseas sales, India has raised freight rates and quadrupled export taxes on iron ore fines.

India’s largest exporting company is Sesa Goa, a unit of London-listed Vedanta Resources, which just over a week ago said it will buy 51% stake in an iron ore making firm in Liberia for $90 million which an estimated reserve of over 1.05 billion tonnes iron ore.

Singapore’s Mercantile Exchange will launch this week a futures contract available to global investors. Reuters reports India debuted the world’s first iron ore futures contract in January, but volumes have been muted as participation of foreign players is not allowed. reported two weeks ago that according to a study by search giant Google, Australia’s iron ore industry contributes less to the country’s GDP than the country’s internet activity.

Australia is the world’s number one iron ore exporter and Gina Rinehart could become the world’s richest person as a result of her ownership of Hancock Prospecting which has massive iron ore and coal projects in the works. reported in July iron ore is far from being merely a relic of the industrial revolution and still plays a central role in the world economy and the commodities markets.

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