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27 February 2015
The Chinese New Year holidays saw many of the markets covered by Steel First get off to a quiet start this week, with the lull in trade arresting the dramatic price falls seen in iron ore and scrap.
Iron ore output in Mexico fell 0.7% year-on-year in December 2014, according to figures released by national statistics agency, Inegi.
Mozambique-focused iron and steel junior Baobab Resources has received a £20.5 million ($31.8 million) takeover offer from its largest shareholder, Redbird Investments.
International OTC iron ore prices edged lower on Friday February 27, despite an increase in physical prices.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices moved up slightly on Friday February 27, despite limited transaction activity.
Japan’s iron ore imports saw a 9% year-on-year drop in January, according to the Japan Iron & Steel Federation (JISF).
The seaborne iron ore market was stable on Friday February 27, with sellers standing firm on their offers as they await the return of more buyers from their Chinese New Year holiday.
China imported 78.6 million tonnes of iron ore in January, according to data released by the country’s customs authority on Friday February 27.
26 February 2015
The average iron ore sales price in the international market will stay around the $70 per tonne mark in 2015, Vale ceo Murilo Ferreira said on Thursday February 26.
China’s updated regulation on dry bulk cargo ships of 400,000-deadweight tonnes (dwt) could help Vale to reach strategic deals on the use of very large ore carriers (VLOCs), a senior source has said.
Vale may downsize its Corumbá iron ore operation in Brazil’s mid-western Mato Grosso do Sul state, a senior executive has said.
International OTC iron ore prices pushed tentatively higher on Thursday February 26 amid choppy trading.
Brazilian iron ore major Vale has written down a further $635 million on the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, in addition to a $500 million impairment charge reported in 2014.
Vale’s net profit for 2014 totalled $657 million, despite the Brazilian mining major posting a net loss of $1.85 billion for the fourth quarter because of impairment charges, it said on Thursday February 26.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices weakened further on Thursday February 26 amid limited activity after the end of the Chinese New Year holiday.
The seaborne iron ore market was unperturbed by futures price gains on Thursday February 26 with participants standing aside in anticipation of clearer cues.
China’s domestic prices for iron ore concentrate remained stable on Thursday February 26 amid limited trading activity with market participants only just returning from their week-long Chinese New Year holiday.
China’s steel and steelmaking raw materials futures posted some gains in morning trading on Thursday February 26, though market participants continued to have a cautious outlook.
25 February 2015
International over-the-counter (OTC) iron ore prices dropped on Wednesday February 25 in line with physical prices as Chinese buyers returned to the market.
UK-listed junior miner Baobab Resources is in partnership talks with a major Chinese state-owned enterprise in an attempt to build Mozambique’s first steel mill.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices weakened on Wednesday February 25, as Chinese market participants returned from the week-long lunar new year holiday.
The iron ore terminal at Australia’s Port Hedland shipped its largest single cargo of ore on Tuesday February 24.
The seaborne iron ore market was mixed on Wednesday February 25, the first working day in China after a week-long break for the Chinese New Year, amid limited trading activity.
Fortescue Metals Group has set a 6.5% adjustment for March shipments of its 57.3% Fe Kings fines, mill sources told Steel First on Wednesday February 25.
China’s steel and steelmaking raw materials futures fell in the morning of Wednesday February 25, the first trading day after a week-long break for the Chinese New Year.
24 February 2015
Turkey’s iron ore imports rose 5.29% in 2014 to 8.54 million tonnes, with increasing crude steel output from the country’s blast furnaces, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK).
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices moved up on Tuesday February 24, the last day of the week-long Chinese New Year holiday.
International over-the-counter (OTC) iron ore prices edged up slightly on Tuesday February 24 after spot deals were concluded at higher prices.
BC Iron has reported an A$8.2-million ($6.4-million) loss for the six months to December 31, the first half of its financial year.
Australia’s Atlas Iron fell into the red in the first half of its current financial year after it recorded an impairment of its Pilbara assets amid depressed iron ore prices.
BHP Billiton’s iron ore business saw its core earnings fall by 29.5% during the half year ended December 31 as prices for the steelmaking raw material plunged to multi-year lows.
A summary of BHP Billiton’s financial results for the half year ended December 31 2014.
23 February 2015
Peru’s iron ore exports grew by 8.6% year-on-year in 2014, according to figures released by the country’s central bank on Friday February 20.
Mining investment firm International Mining Infrastructure Corp (IMIC) has hired the former ceo of failed Sierra Leone iron ore producer London Mining as a fund-raising consultant.
Shougang Hierro Perú, Peru’s sole iron ore producer, has once again delayed the start-up of its expansion project in the country’s south-western Ica province.
The OTC iron ore markets remained quiet on Monday February 23, with many participants still out for China’s lunar new year holiday.
The seaborne iron ore market is currently undergoing the second major shift in dynamics the sector has seen in the past five years.
Dannemora Mineral and its subsidiary Dannemora Magnetit have been granted an extension of their reconstruction period until May 13, 2015, the miner said on Monday February 23.
South Korean bulk shipping company Daebo International has filed for bankruptcy protection amid a prolonged rout in prices for dry bulk commodities such as iron ore and coal.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices did not move on Monday February 23, as China’s lunar new year holiday continues.
Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) will consolidate mining services at its Christmas Creek iron ore mine in Western Australia by employing just one contractor from April onwards.
20 February 2015
Mineração Usiminas, the mining arm of Brazilian flat steel producer Usiminas, expects the Sudeste port to be operating by the end of the first half of 2015, “at most”, a senior executive has said.
19 February 2015
Latin American steelmaker Ternium saw its net profit fall by 64.9% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2014 because of lower steel prices and impairment charges.
The international OTC iron ore trade all but ground to a halt on Thursday February 19, with just a clutch of trades reported.
Iron ore pellet production by mining major Vale increased by 10.2% year-on-year in 2014, the Brazilian company said on Thursday February 19.
Vale’s iron ore output hit a record high in 2014, at 319.2 million tonnes, the Brazilian miner said on Thursday February 19.
18 February 2015
Australia-based miner Centaurus Metals has appointed Canaccord Genuity as lead manager of an equity capital raising programme to underpin its Candonga iron ore project in Brazil’s south-eastern Minas Gerais state.
The past 12 months have seen a fundamental realignment of West Africa’s iron ore sector.
China’s slowing economy and tumbling commodity prices are set to reduce the already declining flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the African mining sector.
The sunlight glinting off the glass of Mozambique’s shiny Maputo airport in East Africa is a glittering testament to China’s promise to invest in African infrastructure.
A handful of iron ore trades were cleared by the Singapore Exchange on Wednesday February 18, with the majority of market participants out for the Chinese lunar new year holiday.
Russian steel and mining major Severstal saw full-year revenues for 2014 at its mining business fall by almost 20% year-on-year, the company said in a results statement on Wednesday February 18.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices moved up on Wednesday February 18 alongside concluded trades on the Global Ore platform.
17 February 2015
Australian iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) reported an 81% drop in net profit for the first half of its 2015 financial year on slumping iron ore prices.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices clawed back gains from the previous day on Tuesday February 17, a day before the start of China’s lunar new year holiday.
Seaborne iron ore prices weakened on Tuesday February 17 on a lower futures curve, with deals concluded far below yesterday's spike to above $65 per tonne.
Australian iron ore miner Mount Gibson Iron has posted a first-half loss of $870 million on lower iron ore prices and the failure of its Koolan Island mine.
Rio Tinto has temporarily stopped rail haulage from its Brockman 2 and Brockman 4 mines in Western Australia's Pilbara region, following the collapse of a nearby rail bridge at the weekend.
China’s steel futures moved down in early trading on Tuesday February 17, the last working day before the week-long Chinese New Year holiday.
16 February 2015
International OTC iron ore prices edged up in thin trading on Monday February 16, with many Asian market participants winding down ahead of this week’s Spring Festival in China.
The ceo of beleaguered Sierra Leone iron ore miner African Minerals, Alan Watling, has left the company after less than six months in the role.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices pushed up strongly on Monday February 16 amid a more positive outlook and higher futures prices.
The seaborne iron ore market gained further ground on Monday February 16 with deals concluded at higher levels on trading platforms amid an optimistic post-holiday outlook.
Net profits at Peruvian iron ore miner Shougang Hierro Perú totalled 450.5 million nuevos soles ($143.8 million) in 2014.
Australia's Mount Gibson Iron has raised its ore sales guidance for 2015, after securing additional rail access for its cargoes.
China’s steel futures rose in early trading on Monday February 16 following gains in the iron ore market last Friday.
13 February 2015
Editor Vera Blei looks at the main news covered by Steel First this week.
Swedish iron ore producer LKAB will cut 400 jobs as falling iron ore prices have prompted a wider cost-cutting spree, it said on Friday February 13.
Swedish iron ore producer LKAB reported a whopping 90% year-on-year drop in operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2014, it said on Friday February 13.
The government of Liberia will seek external mediators for discussions between itself, Guinea and miners ArcelorMittal and Sable Mining regarding access to a key iron ore transport link.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices edged up on Friday February 13 on improved sentiment.
International over-the-counter iron ore prices edged up on Friday February 13 with "a good amount of volumes" traded, brokers said.
ArcelorMittal's earnings from its mining operations in the fourth quarter plunged 60% year-on-year on lower seaborne iron ore prices.
Iron ore futures gains boosted sentiment and prices on the seaborne market despite many participants having left for the Chinese New Year holiday.
UK-listed mining major Anglo American has written down $3.9 billion against its iron ore business on tumbling commodity prices, the miner said in a results statement on Friday February 13.
ArcelorMittal's underlying earnings for the fourth quarter fell by 5% year-on-year, as a stronger performance in its steel business was offset by the effect of lower iron ore prices on its mining segment.
China’s steel futures posted gains in early trading on Friday February 13, even as billet prices remained at a record low amid light trading.
12 February 2015
The crash in iron ore prices has driven many junior miners out of the market and seen some major new projects being put on hold.
The Metallurgical Corp of China (MCC) has discovered major reserves of iron ore and several other metals in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
China’s iron ore sector continued to feel the pinch of tumbling prices, after news emerged on Thursday February 12 that a state-owned iron ore mine in the north of the country had suspended production.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices moved up slightly on Thursday February 12 in a slack market.
International over-the-counter iron ore prices were stable on Thursday February 12 amid thin trading.
Mining companies and commodity traders need to plan for "long, long downturns" in price, according to Vedanta ceo and former Rio Tinto chief Tom Albanese.
Trading activity remains thin in the seaborne iron ore market with mills having completed their restocking ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday while traders withdrawing to the sidelines.
Swiss commodity giant Glencore doubled its traded volumes of iron ore in 2014 to 60 million tonnes, making it one of the largest traders of the raw material in the world, sources told Steel First on Thursday February 12.
Rio Tinto's core earnings for 2014 were down 9% year-on-year amid weak price movements across all major commodities.
China’s steel and steelmaking raw materials futures remained flat in the morning on Thursday February 12, even though the price of billet in Tangshan has fallen to a new low.
Output at Peru’s sole iron ore miner Shougang Hierro Perú increased by 7.7% year-on-year in 2014, according to the figures released by the country’s mining ministry, Minem, on Wednesday February 11.
Brazilian flat steel and iron ore producer Usiminas is expected to deliver weak fourth-quarter results on depressed demand in both local and international markets and lower commodity prices, several analysts have said.
11 February 2015
Brazil-based iron ore miner Bahia Mineração (Bamin) and the state government of Bahia have decided to scale back plans for the Porto Sul port.
Mexico is to resume iron ore exports from Lázaro Cárdenas port, in the country’s western Michoacán state.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices moved lower on Wednesday February 11 amid thin trading activity.
International over-the-counter iron ore prices pushed up toward the end of Asian trading hours on Wednesday February 11.
The seaborne iron ore market cooled on Wednesday February 11 following the spike in prices a day earlier, with participants in little hurry to conclude deals ahead of Chinese New Year.
Summary of Glencore’s production results for the fourth-quarter and the full-year of 2014 .
China’s steel and steelmaking raw materials futures were mixed on Wednesday February 11, amid a divided outlook for the market.
ANZ is expecting prices for 62% Fe iron ore to average just $58 per tonne cfr China for 2015, one of the most bearish forecasts of late amid weak fundamentals.
10 February 2015
China has amended its port rules to allow fully loaded 400,000-deadweight tonnes (dwt) dry bulk cargo ships to dock at the country’s mainland ports.
Rio Tinto has pushed back the deadline for assembling a consortium of investors to fund the 650km rail line it needs to unlock its Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, due to the continuing ebola outbreak.
International over-the-counter iron ore prices edged up on Tuesday February 10 on the back of firmer physical transactions.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices jumped on Tuesday February 10 after low prices attracted more buying activity.
Trading activity picked up in the seaborne iron ore market on Tuesday February 10 as buyers resumed purchasing after prices moved down to just above $61 per tonne a day earlier.
European economic weakness is playing a key role in the global slide in commodity prices, according to ex-Goldman Sachs Asset management chairman Jim O’Neill.
China’s steel and steelmaking raw material futures posted some early gains on Tuesday February 10, following the release of data showing a continued dip in crude steel production in late January.
Iron ore prices will remain weak for a longer period of time amid “slower, not lower” demand, according to Wood Mackenzie.
09 February 2015
London-based miner Zamin Ferrous expects to resume operations at its Brazilian Amapá iron ore project soon.
Mike Jones, the right-hand man for Frank Timis in his African mining operations, has left Timis Corp, ending an eight-year business relationship with the Romanian-Australian mining magnate.
The Indian Stainless Steel Development Assn (ISSDA) has petitioned for the removal of import duties on raw materials to increase the viability of the domestic sector, it said on Monday February 9.
Sweden’s state-owned iron ore producer, LKAB, has decided to renegotiate all its large supplier contracts to maintain competitiveness amid falling iron ore prices, it said on Monday February 9.
The international over-the-counter iron ore prices edged down slightly on Monday February 9 amid quiet trading.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices have fallen to a new index-low on Monday February 9 amid limited trading activity.
There's an hour-long queue of mining executives, bankers and government officials waiting for taxis in the morning heat at Cape Town's huge conference centre.
The seaborne iron ore market was quiet on Monday February 9, with mills hesitating to make purchases amid a lack of indicative transactions with the Chinese New Year holiday fast approaching.
China’s steel and steelmaking raw materials futures dropped in early trading on Monday February 9, with the holiday mood appearing to be spreading throughout the market.
China’s iron ore imports dropped in January even as prices continued to fall to their lowest in five-and-a-half years.
06 February 2015
Steel First attended sister publication Metal Bulletin's China Iron Ore conference in Beijing this week, with much of the discussion focused on the supply side, demand signals and price forecasts for 2015.
Industry participants gathered in Beijing this week for Metal Bulletin’s 2015 China Iron Ore conference. Here are four things we learned from the two-day meeting.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has warned that iron ore producers could face another round of ratings downgrades if iron ore prices continued to fall.
International iron ore derivatives values pushed higher on Friday February 6 in line with higher concluded physical trades.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices regained ground on Friday February 6 on a deal concluded at a higher level than yesterday.
The iron ore price crash caused by larger producers expanding operations to grab bigger market share has forced smaller, higher cost operations to be more creative with their own businesses.
The seaborne iron ore market was mixed on Friday February 6, with deals for 62% Fe fines concluded at higher levels, while those for 58% Fe material continued their downward trend.
The global iron ore market is set to remain oversupplied this year as the top four producers ramp up production to breach the billion-tonne mark in a bid to increase their market share.
Iron ore prices could recover to as high as $75 per tonne in the first quarter following the “robust” elimination of excess supply, according to CLSA senior commodity strategist Ian Roper.
China’s iron and steel futures remained weak in early trading on Friday February 6 amid a lacklustre physical market.
Iron ore junior Arrium has agreed to sell its wire ropes business to a Belgium-based company for A$90 million ($70 million) as it continues to reduce its debt.
05 February 2015
International iron ore derivatives prices dipped on Thursday February 5 after a brief rally driven by an economic announcement from China.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices dropped to new index lows on Thursday February 5 amid limited buying.
The seaborne iron ore market failed to respond to Chinese fiscal stimulus on Thursday February 5, with buying activity from the country's mills remaining lacklustre, a mill source based in Beijing said.
Many small and high-cost iron ore mines in China will be shut down in the next 6-12 months, and consolidation will be the order of the day over the next couple of years, a major Chinese iron ore producer said.
China’s steel and steelmaking raw materials futures saw little movement in morning trading on Thursday February 5, as the market mulled over the latest monetary easing measures by the country’s central bank.
04 February 2015
New Brazilian miner Manabi is looking for a partner to develop its iron ore projects in the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais.
A retrospective levy imposed on its captive coal mines has caused Indian steel and energy company Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) to report a quarterly loss exceeding $100 million, it has revealed.
Fitch Ratings has lowered its iron ore price forecast for 2015-17 due to shifts in the supply-demand balance, the credit rating agency said on Wednesday February 4.
News that China will cut its reserve-requirement ratio pushed up international over-the-counter iron ore prices late on Wednesday February 4.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices moved lower on Wednesday February 4 as deals were concluded at lower levels.
China’s seaborne iron ore import market weakened as deals were concluded at lower prices on Wednesday February 4.
Iron ore e-business platform Global Ore plans to trade iron ore lump in the near term, its head of markets told delegates at Metal Bulletin’s annual iron ore conference.
China’s crude steel production is forecast to reach 1 billion tonnes by 2030, according to Rio Tinto executive Alan Smith.
Mining majors will add an additional 200 million tonnes of iron ore into the market over the 2015-2020 period, a senior official from Brazil’s Vale said.
Open interest of iron ore derivatives on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) rose 14% to 103.54 million tonnes as at January 30, according to the bourse.
China’s futures edged up in early Asian trading on Wednesday February 4, even as the mood at a key iron ore conference in the country’s capital remained sombre.
China’s steel production and demand could shrink in 2015 as the country’s economy slows down, according to officials from the China Iron & Steel Assn (Cisa).
Market participants are split in their outlook for the direction of iron ore prices after the February 18-24 Chinese New Year holiday.
Iron ore exports out of Australia’s port of Port Hedland decreased by a slight 1% in January, according to figures released by the Pilbara Port Authority on Wednesday February 4.
Brazil’s iron ore exports to its biggest customer, China, declined by nearly 27% year-on-year in January.
03 February 2015
Steel prices in the Chinese domestic market saw a dramatic decline in January as the market started to panic.
The Mexican government has issued a new decree which updates its mining law to extend state control over iron ore exports.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices got a boost from low mill inventories on Tuesday February 3 despite limited trading activity.
International over-the-counter iron ore prices edged up slightly on Tuesday February 3.
China’s seaborne iron ore import market crept off lows amid thin trade on Tuesday February 3.
Cliffs Natural Resources’ underlying earnings for the fourth quarter of last year totalled $297 million, down 32% from the corresponding period in 2013.
China’s steel futures continued to fall in early trading on Tuesday February 3 amid a depressed physical market and weak outlook, while those for iron ore and coking coal flat-lined.
02 February 2015
BC Iron has indicated its intention to withdraw from the 50:50 alliance between the forms over three iron-ore projects in Brazil “in light of market conditions”, according to Australia’s Cleveland Mining.
Australia-based miner Centaurus Metals has obtained the approval from Brazil's department of mineral production (DNPM) for a trial mining licence application for its Candonga iron ore project, in the country’s south-eastern Minas Gerais state.
Chile’s Compañía de Acero del Pacífico (CAP) has obtained an approval from the country’s environmental agency, SEA, for Cruz Grande iron ore port.
Brazilian iron ore terminal Sudeste Superport has obtained a customs storage certificate from the country’s federal revenue secretariat.
Brazilian iron ore export volumes fell by 5.6% year-on-year in January.
More than 300 delegates from around the world are expected to attend Metal Bulletin’s China Iron Ore 2015 conference at the Grand Millennium Hotel in Beijing on February 4 and 5.
International OTC iron ore prices dropped further in trading on Monday February 2, following Chinese ferrous derivatives downward.
Worsening fighting between government forces and Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine is affecting steel output at Metinvest’s operations in the region.
Vale’s executive board has approved and will submit to the board of directors a proposal for the distribution of a minimum $2 billion dividend in 2015.
After iron ore spot prices plunged by 50% through 2014, market participants are asking how different miners are coping under the revised market conditions.
Russia’s largest iron ore producer, Metalloinvest, has signed a contract with the world’s leading steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, for iron ore deliveries, the miner said on Monday February 2.
Spot 62% Fe iron ore prices moved up slightly on Monday February 2 despite limited trading and weaker futures.
Seaborne iron ore prices remained rangebound on Monday February 2 as trades on the futures market weakened.
China’s steel and steelmaking raw material futures mostly weakened in early trading on Monday February 2, with sentiment dampened by data showing a contraction in the country’s manufacturing sector.
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24 February 2015
2-4 March 2015