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Iron ore price rally turns into rout

Port of Qinqdao, China. Stock image.

Iron ore prices fell back sharply again on Thursday on the back of rising port inventories and clear signs that supply has caught up with particularly strong demand from China.

According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $122.36 a tonne on Thursday, down 6% since Monday.

“It’s now a turning point,” Ban Peng, an analyst at Maike Futures told Bloomberg News:

“Recent exports from Brazil have been slightly better than our expectations, and supply from the top miners including Vale SA should increase in the fourth quarter, which is typically a peak season. ” 

According to Shanghai SteelHome, iron ore port inventories rose to 119 million tonnes last week, the highest in five months. Stockpiles could increase further in September and October as congestion at Chinese ports eases.

Vale ramp up

Vale (NYSE: VALE) said on Wednesday it expects to reach iron ore capacity of 400 million tonnes per year by increasing output across its operations.

The company currently has the capacity to produce 318 million tonnes a year. In 2018, before the Brumadinho dam collapse, Vale produced 385 million tonnes.

In an investor site visit presentation, Rio de Janeiro-based Vale also said it has a target of 450 million tonnes per year “in the future.”