SHANGHAI, May 19 (SMM) — Prices of imported iron ore hit a new high at the beginning of last week, with spot prices of mainstream medium-grade ore at ports in Shandong reaching 1,665 yuan/mt. However, ferrous metals prices weakened in the second half of the week amid bearish macro sentiment, with port spot prices down 60-70 yuan/mt. Prices of imported iron ore are likely to continue to see wild swings in the short term due to expectations of macro control, and may see certain upside room this week on fading bearish sentiment and relatively positive fundamentals.
Port arrivals fell to 11.33 million mt during May 2-8. Departures from Brazil fell to 5.61 million mt, but those from Australia began to pick up. Continued decline in domestic port inventories will support prices. Profits of rebar and hot-rolling BF steel mills remained high at 575 yuan/mt and 923 yuan/mt respectively, based on prices of $230.5/mt for imported ore. This will keep demand for iron ore strong. Output of crude steel and pig iron continued to increase in early May. Some steel mills raised production recently and favoured mainstream high-grade ore.
Market focus will be on the impact on iron ore prices as relevant departments have introduced policies and regulations in response to the surge in ferrous metals prices, including iron ore.