Iron ore price: Downside risks are building
The import price of 62% Fe content ore at the port of Tianjin drifted lower to trade at $58.80 per dry metric tonne on Monday according to data supplied by The Steel Index.
Against most predictions, year to date the price of the steelmaking raw material is up 37% and has surged nearly 60% since hitting near-decade lows in December.
China, which consumes more than 70% of the world’s seaborne iron ore trade, imported 88.4 million tonnes in July, the highest since December. Shipments for the first seven months are now up 8.1% from 2015’s record setting pace and on track to breach 1 billion tonnes for the first time.
Inventories at China’s major ports have climbed substantially from mid-year 2015 and recently came close to the record 111 million tonnes hit in the second half of 2014 before stabilizing around the 100 million tonne level.
Chinese demand for cargoes may ease towards the end of the year and downside expectations for the iron ore price are rising, despite solid manufacturing data from the region according to a new report from the Singapore Exchange:
“Steel demand uncertainties have gradually been rising for the months ahead.
“On the one hand, improved steel demand from both the real estate and infrastructure sectors are likely to help provide a floor to steel prices.
“On the other hand, the Chinese central government appears reluctant to unleash more major short-term stimulus and, as expected, focus on structural reforms has been increasing.