Last week, the price spread between high-grade and medium-grade imported ore as well as that between low-grade and medium-grade products both expanded. In Qingdao, the price spread between mainstream high-grade products (IOCJ) and medium-grade products (PBF) increased by 4 yuan/mt to 89 yuan/mt from a week earlier. The price gap between mainstream medium-grade products (PBF) and low-grade products (SSF) widened by 4 yuan/mt to 117 yuan/mt.
During the Two Sessions of the NPC and CPPCC, production at beneficiation plants in Hebei was limited due to heavy air pollution and environmental protection. Combined with the recent improvement of steel mill profits, steel mills’ demand for high-grade fines improved, pushing the prices higher. The cost efficiency of SSF weakened due to its recent high prices, growing steel mills’ purchasing for Indian fines. This has limited the price gains of SSF compared to medium-grade fines, thus expanding the price spread between high-grade and medium-grade products as well as that between medium-grade and low-grade products.
The recent continuous rainstorm in Brazil has affected the production and shipment of IOCJ, underpinning the prices. The price spread between high-grade and medium-grade products should widen further. Ample supply of Indian and Jingbao fines has suppressed demand for SSF, and the price spread between medium-grade and low-grade products is expected to continue to expand.
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