China: Rising iron ore prices weigh down steel mill profitability
Iron ore prices continued an upward trend in recent months as overseas mine accidents disrupted supplies.
Iron ore futures prices have increased nearly 40 percent since the start of the year, and still have room to rise, pushing steel prices higher, experts said.
Brazil’s Vale dam accidents and the suspension of the transportation of iron ore in Australia because of cyclones have pushed up prices of the steel-making material.
Brazil and Australia account for nearly 80 percent of the world’s iron ore output.
China’s iron ore imports fell 1.5 percent from a year earlier to 1.04 billion tonnes last year, but its independence on imports still exceeds 80 percent, said Sun Hui, an analyst with Xiben New Line Stock Co.
Rising iron ore prices weighed down the profitability of domestic steel mills, reducing their profits by around 200 yuan per tonne.
Iron ore inventory at China’s ports amounted to 147.19 million tonnes at the end of last week, down 860,000 tonnes from one week earlier.