BEIJING, Mar. 16 (Platts) -- Global iron ore supply and demand will strike a balance from 2012 and iron ore prices have developed a downward bias, the China Iron and Steel Association chairman Zhu Jimin said Thursday.
He added that though in the past few years, the rapid development of China's steel industry has pushed up international iron ore prices, there had been a slowdown in the growth of China's steel output since Q4 2011.
He also said the development of iron ore mines -- both in China and overseas -- has gained momentum in the past few years, adding that the relatively slow development of China's domestic iron ore mines had been speeded up and was now growing at an annual rate of about 20%, gradually reducing China's dependence on imported iron ore and this had resulted in significant changes in international iron ore supply and demand.
Zhu, who is also president of Chinese steelmaker Shougang Corp., also said that the Chinese central government should coordinate with domestic iron ore consumers in international iron ore purchases with a view to minimizing the impact of China's iron ore demand on the international iron ore market.
China imported a total of 686.06 million mt of iron ore in 2011, up 10.9% year on year, according to figures from China Customs.
Meanwhile, figures from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed that China mined 1.33 billion mt of crude iron ore (grading about 20% Fe on average) in 2011, up 27% year on year.