Iron ore's price slide is gathering pace

Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images

Iron ore spot markets continued to slide on Wednesday, sending the benchmark price tumbling to the lowest level in a month.

And with Chinese iron ore and steel futures down again in overnight trade, the losses may not be finished yet.

The price for benchmark 62% fines slumped by 2.91% to $87.19 a tonne, according to pricing from Metal Bulletin, leaving it at the lowest level since February 10.

It was the largest drop since February 23, and took the decline from the multi-year high of $94.86 a tonne on February 21 to 8.1%.

The benchmark price has now trimmed its 2017 advance to 10.5%.

Continuing a familiar theme, Metal Bulletin said the decline corresponded with weakness in Chinese rebar prices, particularly futures.

“China’s spot rebar prices moved down further on Wednesday as the futures market tumbled again,” it said.

“Rebar futures experienced a sharp decrease during the day, which weighed on buying interest in the spot market, leaving sellers with little choice but to cut prices.”

That, as it has done in the past, weighed on iron ore markets.

Though not a factor behind the price slide, China also released international trade figures during the session, revealing that 83.49 million tonnes of iron ore were imported last month. That was up 13.4% from the levels of year earlier, but down on the 92 million tonnes of ore imported in January.

Combining January and February’s figures — alleviating the effects of the Lunar New Year holiday — iron ore imports totalled 175.34 million tonnes, up an impressive 12.6% on the same period in 2016.

After stabilising during Wednesday’s day session, Chinese commodity futures came under renewed pressure in overnight trade with iron ore, rebar and coking coal contracts all sliding by close to 2%. That suggests the weakness in spot iron ore markets may extend into Thursday trade.

SHFE Copper ¥47,160 , -0.53%
SHFE Aluminium ¥13,780 , -0.61%
SHFE Zinc ¥22,045 , 0.20%
SHFE Nickel ¥84,350 , -5.25%
SHFE Rebar ¥3,402 , -1.65%
DCE Iron Ore ¥654.00 , -1.65%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,274.50 , -1.58%
DCE Coke ¥1,754.50 , -1.82%

Chinese commodity futures will resume trade at midday AEDT, 30 minutes before the release of Chinese producer price inflation figures for February.

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