Vale, the world’s second-largest shipper of the steelmaking ingredient, has surged about 90% in six months. Yet, the stock is fetching less than five times estimated earnings, down from more than six at the start of the year.
Midday Thursday, Vale’s stock was down 2% on the NYSE. The company has a $108 billion market capitalization.
It’s a similar story for BHP: It’s up about 40% but its valuation has slipped back. The company stock was down 2.4% on Thursday. The miner has a $197 billion market capitalization.
Rio Tinto’s stock was trading down 3.6%. The company’s market value is $145 billion.
Slightly lower valuations may indicate shares still have upside. Vale, for example, is expected to generate a third of its market value in earnings this year.
Benchmark iron ore price plunged as much as 9.5% in China as market participants paused the rally.
The most actively traded iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, for September delivery, closed down 7.5% at 1,217 yuan ($188.66) per tonne, after touching 1,190 yuan earlier in the session.
Related Article: Analysts not convinced the iron ore price run has legs
“We do not see extreme tightness in the iron ore market, now or in the future. We see little support for the price rising this high above the cost of the marginal producer in the market,” Erik Hedborg, an analyst with CRU, said in a note.
Moody’s Investors Service says the lofty iron ore prices will likely recede but remain strong amid persistent supply constraints.
“High iron ore prices in early 2021 are unsustainable, but market fundamentals remain strong for 2021 based on supply constraints and a lack of major expansion projects in store for the coming years,” Moody’s senior VP Barbara Mattos said in an interview.
“Rising steel demand will sustain iron ore prices at or above the higher end of our $70-$100 per tonne price sensitivity.”
($1 = 6.4507 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(With files from Bloomberg and Reuters)