Iron ore gains further despite stock build

Seaborne iron ore prices continued their recovery last week despite rising port stocks. Price enjoyed their first full week increase since mid-July.

The Kallanish KORE 62% Fe index increased $2/tonne on Friday and $13.15/t over the week to $153.88/dry metric tonne cfr Qingdao. The Kallanish KORE 65% Fe index gained $1.92/t on Friday and $12.22/t on-week to $177.70/dmt cfr, and the KORE 58% Fe index increased $2.24/t on Friday and $3.58/t on-week to $122.48/dmt cfr.

On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, January 2022 settled up CNY 1/t at CNY 829.5/t ($128.05/t), while on the Singapore Exchange $4.36/t at $157.63/t. The same contract for 65% Fe and 58% Fe futures settled up $5.05/t at $177.64/t, and up $7.62/t at $126.17/t. In Tangshan, billet prices were unchanged at CNY 4,950/t.

Across 35 ports, iron ore stocks increased another 1.12 million tonnes last week to 121.46mt, according to a count by SMM. Deliveries into port stocks have continued but are still being delayed due to the backlog of shipping at ports as Covid protection measures slow processing. Mills meanwhile have been restocking in limited amounts as the end of the month approaches and are wating to see how prices develop.

Steel market sentiment has not been particularly strong. Traders are increasingly concerned that the seasonal recovery in demand after summer may be slower than expected. For iron ore markets however, there has been some respite as expectations for steel output levels have stabilised.

Tomas Gutierrez UK