China’s iron ore import market remained quiet on Thursday May 3, with prices expected to fall further.
Spot prices of 63.5% Fe Indian fines stood at $147-148 per tonne cfr China, compared with $147-149 per tonne cfr on Wednesday.
“The market is very weak at the moment. Buyers are scarce so a steel mill can get any iron ore it wants at a reasonable price,” an iron ore trader in Shandong told Metal Bulletin.
“We have not sold any iron ore for nearly one month, but we are hesitant to lower our offer prices due to our high purchasing costs,” a trader in Anhui said.
There is ample supply of seaborne iron ore, especially Brazilian material, and domestic iron ore miners are boosting output because of the warmer weather, a trader in Shanghai said.
The imminent monsoon season in India could create some uncertainties in the iron ore market in the medium term, however, an analyst in Shanghai said.
“The loading of fines cargoes will stop in western Indian ports during the monsoon season, from May 21 to September 15, but the loading of lumps cargo will continue,” an Indian trader told Metal Bulletin.
“India’s market share will drop even further during the rainy season this year, as low-Fe materials that are shipped from the western ports have gradually become the country’s main iron ore export,” the Shanghai analyst said.
The market is well prepared for the regular monsoon season, however, and there is nothing to worry about, the Shanghai trader said.
Vale offered 113,257 tonnes of 64.13% Fe lumps on Thursday, and market participants expect the tender to be concluded at about $145 per tonne cfr.
On Wednesday, Vale concluded a tender for 109,700 tonnes of 63.72% Fe sinter-feed fines at $145.18 per tonne cfr. This compares with a similar cargo on April 26 that went for $146.52 per tonne cfr.
Rio Tinto offered 75,000 tonnes of 65% Fe South African Palabora Mining Co fines at $156 per tonne cfr on Thursday, down by $1 from its offer a week earlier.