The iron ore market remains choppy and directionless

TORSTEN BLACKWOOD / AFP / Getty Images

The iron ore market remains choppy and directionless, continuing the theme seen in recent weeks.

On Monday, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines fell by 0.25% to $59.24 a tonne, according to Metal Bulletin, taking back around a third of the gain seen on Friday.

In twelve of the past thirteen sessions the price has now moved by less than once percent in either direction, oscillating in a thin range between $58.86 to $61.75 a tonne throughout.

Despite the lack of movement seen recently, year to date it has gained 36%.

In a sign that the meandering price action may be about to come to an end, Chinese iron ore futures posted solid gains in overnight trade on the Dalian Commodities Exchange.

The most actively traded January 2017 contract finished the overnight session at 429.5 yuan, an increase of 1.42%.

The gain came despite downbeat commentary from BHP Billiton on Monday with Australia’s second-largest iron ore producer suggesting that prices were likely to push lower in the period ahead due to “well-telegraphed” new supply from Australia and Brazil arriving about to hit the market.

“Some of that supply is late, but we have every confidence it will arrive,” Huw McKay, BHP’s vice president of market analysis and economics, told Bloomberg on Monday.

“We still see new low-cost tonnes reaching the market later this year and definitely through calendar 2017.”

“We do expect it will weigh on price from where we are, and we’ll be closer to the middle of the range that we think about, rather at the top of the range, which is where the price is now,” he said.

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