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Why this mining analyst is upbeat on the iron ore price forecast

In many ways, 2021 can be called the year of the iron ore price. Much of the talk of the ASX town this year has revolved around this key economic metric driving the Australian economy. As we all know, mining plays a major role in our economic machine. Movements in the iron ore price, in particular, can have far-reaching consequences on everything from our exchange rate to the budgets our governments run.

So it was with much excitement that a record high iron ore price that reached more than US$200 a tonne earlier this year was received. That sent the share prices of the ASX’s biggest iron miners like BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP), Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) to new all-time highs just a few months ago.

But equally momentous was the subsequent collapse the iron ore price has suffered through in the months since. The ‘red dirt’ was fetching as high as US$220 a tonne just a few months ago. But, today, it is asking just US$92.60 a tonne.

So if you were wondering why the Fortescue share price has now lost roughly 40% since late July, that’s probably a pretty good explanation.

As such, many investors might be wondering ‘where to from here?’ and hoping for an iron ore price forecast.

Ellison gives iron ore price forecast
Chriss Ellison is the executive chair of Mineral Resources Ltd (ASX: MIN), a mining and services company that has done exceptionally well over the past year (up around 35.5%). So it goes without saying that this is a man to get a decent iron ore price forecast from, if there is such a thing.

According to recent reporting in the Australian Financial Review (AFR), Mr Ellison is pushing ahead with his company’s expansion plans for iron ore, despite the recent price collapse. Ellison reportedly is expecting the iron ore price to “consolidate around US$100 a tonne”. Despite the distance between that price and the highs we saw earlier this year, this would still mean “handy margins” for a smaller player like Mineral Resources.

Ellison isn’t the only one looking at US$100 iron ore. The report also quotes Glyn Lawcock, of Barranjoey Capital Partners. Mr Lawcock is expecting the iron ore price to average “above US$100” in 2022. He points to what he sees as the potential for higher Chinese steel output once the 2022 Winter Olympics finish in Beijing next year.

So, if these experts are to be believed, the days of US$200-plus iron ore are over, at least for now. But they also clearly aren’t of the opinion that there isn’t still money to be made from the iron ore price.

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