BEIJING, March 16 (Reuters) - The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) strongly opposes the attempt by foreign miners to increase benchmark iron ore prices by 80-90 percent in 2010, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
“On the afternoon of March 11, Eurofer (the European steel industry association) made a statement on its website strongly opposing the intention of iron ore producers to raise prices by 80-90 percent,” the statement said.
“The China Iron and Steel Association expresses its approval and support for this statement,” it said.
Eurofer said last week it was “outraged” by such increases, which it said would hurt Europe’s economic recovery. [ID:nBRU010694]
Last year, CISA led China’s benchmark price negotiations with Brazil’s Vale VALE5.SA and Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) and BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) of Australia, but its effort to win concessions from the three mining giants failed, and this year it has been replaced by Baosteel (600019.SS).
But Baosteel has signalled its reluctance to take the lead, joining CISA and 10 other Chinese steel mills in a plea to the government to intervene on their behalf in the talks, which are scheduled to end on April 1. [ID:nSGE62E00S]
CISA said at the end of last year that it expected the three big miners to demand a 20 percent increase in benchmark prices in 2010, but major steel firms ackowledge that the figure is going to be significantly higher than that. [ID:nTOE62906W] (Reporting by David Stanway; editing by James Jukwey)