Japan’s JFE head says not expecting further rise in iron ore prices

Image courtesy of JFE Steel Corp.

The head of Japan’s second-biggest steelmaker JFE Holdings Inc said on Thursday he does not expect iron ore prices to rise further as he expects that Vale’s output in Brazil will likely recover.

The iron ore market is surging, with prices last week topping the $100-per-tonne level for the first time in five years. The steelmaking material has been rocked by the rolling dam-related closures of Vale’s Brazilian mines as well as by weather-related losses in Australia.

China’s iron ore futures extended gains on Thursday.

“I expect iron ore prices won’t keep rising, but instead, will likely stabilise at the current levels … or even head lower going forward,” JFE Holdings President Koji Kakigi told a news conference, adding that Vale’s output in Brazil is expected to recover in some point.

JFE, which buys about 20 percent of its iron ore from Vale, has made some advanced purchases from other sources to make sure it gets adequate raw materials, he said.

(By Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue)