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Iron ore edges up as buying interest returns, but deals scarce
March 7, 2013 / 8:42 AM / 5 years ago

Iron ore edges up as buying interest returns, but deals scarce

By Manolo Serapio Jr
    SINGAPORE, March 7 (Reuters) - Spot prices of iron ore
bounced back from six-week lows as some buyers from top importer
China returned to the market, although deals were scarce.
    Traders were hopeful the drop in iron ore prices from
16-month highs in late February might lure buyers back, with
Chinese steel mills continuing to lift production.
    China's daily crude steel output rose 1.4 percent to 2.034
million tonnes in the last eight days of February versus the
preceding 10 days, the highest since mid-May 2012, data from the
China Iron and Steel Association show. 
    "Generally the demand for cargo is there, it's just about
the pricing. Now that prices are lower compared to two weeks
ago, mills are more willing to buy," said an iron ore trader in
Hong Kong.
    "There's a lot of buying inquiries at the current prices,
but deals are few."
    Benchmark 62-percent grade iron ore rose 0.4 percent to
$145.80 a tonne on Wednesday, according to Steel Index,
recovering from the prior session, when it was the lowest since
Jan. 18.
    Rio Tinto  sold 61-percent grade Australian
Pilbara iron ore at $147.35 a tonne at a tender on Wednesday,
higher than Steel Index's 62-percent price, traders said.
    Rio offered another 165,000 tonnes of the same material at a
tender on Thursday, traders said. There is market talk the
second cargo was sold at $147.32 per tonne, a trader in
Singapore said.
    The prices at which cargoes are sold at these spot tenders
go into the computation of index prices which then determine
pricing for iron ore contracts sold by miners.
    On Wednesday, China's top economic planning agency accused
the world's top three iron ore miners and some traders of
manipulating the market to drive an 80 percent rally in ore
prices over six months.
    Iron ore prices nearly doubled from three-year lows in
September to reach a 16-month high of $158.90 a tonne on Feb.
    The National Development and Reform Commission did not name
any miners, but the top three iron ore producers are Rio Tinto,
BHP Billiton  and Vale, which
together produce roughly two-thirds of the world's output.
    Responding to the allegations, BHP said on Thursday it was
committed to a transparent iron ore market.  
  Shanghai rebar futures and iron ore indexes at 0828 GMT
  Contract                          Last    Change   Pct Change
  SHFE REBAR OCT3                   3932     -5.00        -0.13
  THE STEEL INDEX 62 PCT INDEX     145.8     +0.60        +0.41
  METAL BULLETIN INDEX            148.04     +1.01        +0.69
  Rebar in yuan/tonne
  Index in dollars/tonne, show close for the previous trading day
 (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Clarence

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