Iron ore steadies but inventories gain

Seaborne iron ore prices steadied on Friday. Port stocks continue to resume, but the iron ore sector remains more firm than steel.

The Kallanish KORE 62% Fe index gained $0.12/t to $122.52/dry metric tonne cfr Qingdao. The Kallanish KORE 65% Fe index gained $0.13/t to $133.27/dmt cfr, and the KORE 58% Fe index slipped $0.39/t to $110.27/dmt cfr. On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, January 2021 iron ore settled up CNY 1.5/t at CNY 822.5/t ($119.62/t). On the Singapore Exchange, September 62% Fe futures settled up $2.42/t at $120.18/t, while the same contract for 65% Fe and 58% Fe futures settled up $2.3/t at $133.31/t, and down $1.19/t at $107.77/t respectively. In Tangshan, billet prices gained CNY 10/t to CNY 3,410/t.

Iron ore port stocks resumed their increase last week, but did not make up the decline the previous week. Across 35 ports, stocks were up 900,000t last week to 105.89 million tonnes, according to a count by SMM. Deliveries from port stocks slowed down, in part because of restrictions in Tangshan, and in part because of the disruption of Typhoon Bavi. Some restocking from mills is therefore likely to resume in the coming week.

Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) meanwhile shows that the ferrous mining sector has seen profits surge. Ferrous mining profits were up 24.3% year-on-year at CNY 16.54 billion over January-June. The growth rate was second only to computers and electronics. The ferrous smelting and rolling sector by contrast saw profits fall 32% to CNY 110.69 billion over the same period.