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Iron ore’s rally has its days numbered — Citi

Australia’s Port Hedland iron ore loading terminal, the largest source of seaborne iron ore supply globally. (Image from archives)

Iron ore prices climbed again Tuesday to $61.75 a tonne, just off a four-month high, taking this year’s gains to more than 40% to date.

The spot price for benchmark 62% fines added 52 cents overnight, according to The Metal Bulletin, on increased activity and strength in the steel market.

But the bonanza should soon be over, say analysts led by investment bank Citi, which warns that current prices are simply not sustainable.

Iron ore has spent much of this year defying predictions for a sustained slump triggered by oversupply.

“There are short- to medium-term risks in iron ore and coal as the impact of Chinese stimulus that has boosted the 2016 year to date abates,” Citi analysts wrote in a research note, quoted by Bloomberg.

Despite calling it a “darling” of commodities so far this year, they noted that falling demand, coupled with increasing mine supply, would probably hurt iron ore prices thereafter.

As such, Citi believes the steel-making ingredient will average $51 a tonne in the final quarter of the year and $45 in 2017.

Their view is backed by BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT), the world’s largest mining company and the No.3 iron ore producer, which has repeatedly said prices for the commodity will remain low for at least another ten years due to oversupply.

Iron ore’s rally has its days counted — Citi

Courtesy of The Metal Bulletin.

Beyond predictions, one thing is certain: the steel-making ingredient has spent much of this year defying analysts’ sustained slump forecast.

New supply coming from Roy Hill in Australia, Anglo American’s Minas Rio and Vale’s S11D in Brazil, however, may tip the balance, as that output is expected to outpace demand for some time.