Iron ore slides, resists coal’s slump

Seaborne iron ore prices fell a little on Wednesday but remained within their $120+/tonne range. Steel and coking coal prices have fallen more dramatically on weak sentiment and price controls for coal.

The Kallanish KORE 62% Fe index fell $0.76/t at $120.48/dry metric tonne cfr Qingdao. The Kallanish KORE 65% Fe index dropped $1.42/t at $142.32/dmt cfr, and the KORE 58% Fe index fell $0.73/t at $92.02/dmt cfr.

On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, January iron ore settled flat at CNY 700/t ($109.48/t), while on the Singapore Exchange November 62% Fe futures settled down $3.25/t at $117.60/t. The same contract for 65% Fe and 58% Fe futures settled down $5.43/t at $135.91/t, and $3.32/t at $89/t respectively.

Scrap and billet prices too continued their decline. Grade 6mm+ heavy scrap delivered to mills in the Yangtze River Delta fell CNY 7/t to CNY 3,688/t. In Tangshan, billet prices fell CNY 60/t to CNY 4,900/t.

Thermal coal has driven the decline, spreading to coking coal and coke and then other ferrous products. On DCE January coking coal futures settled down CNY 126.5/t at CNY 2,844/t, while the same contract for coke settled down CNY 131.5/t at CNY 3,637.5/t. Speculators have fled futures markets on higher trading costs and government moves to control prices.

Sentiment meanwhile remains weighed down by weak demand, a struggling real estate sector and the deepening winter.

Tomas Gutierrez UK