CHINA May 09 2017 6:15 PM
SHANGHAI (Scrap Register): Iron ore price came off sharply in April as Chinese steel-making margins came under pressure. The monthly average for 62% Fe iron ore fines imported into China was US$69.97/dry metric tonne CFR Tianjin port—nearly 20% lower than in March and coming off the back of three straight months of prices averaging above US$80/dmt, according to the Steel Index.
Iron ore imports into China came in at a high level for March, even as inventory continues to pile up at port—anecdotally much of which comprises lower-grade ores. Exports of iron ore out of the Western Australian port of Port Hedland were also elevated last month (April), suggesting supply is likely to continue to be relatively plentiful, particularly with the seasonal weather disruptions in Australia now behind us.
Manufacturing activity slowed in China, with the widely-watched PMI survey for the sector coming in just a touch above the nochange mark of 50. Controls remain in place on the real estate sector as the government aims to cool house prices, though data showed investment in the sector remaining robust over the first quarter of this year.
The volume of iron ore derivatives traded dipped in April, falling to just below 150 million tonnes, compared with around 200 million tonnes in March. Open interest on Singapore Exchange (SGX) remained steady.