Iron ore seen at $80 long term as China steel output growth slows -CISA


Iron ore is likely to hover around $80 a tonne in the long term amid limited growth in China’s steel output, an industry association official said on Monday, discounting any sharp recovery in prices as a supply glut weighs on the market.

China would produce about 800 million tonnes of crude steel a year for the next decade, said Li Xinchuang, deputy secretary general of the China Iron and Steel Association, capping the country’s demand for raw material iron ore.

“The steel market in China will stabilise at a high level. That means it will give a stable market. But according to my understanding, Chinese production cannot go over 900 million tonnes,” Li told a mining conference in Melbourne.

China produced a record 779 million tonnes of crude steel in 2013, up 7.5 percent from the previous year.

Iron ore prices have fallen nearly 40 percent this year, hitting $81.70 a tonne .IO62-CNI=SI on Friday as growth in supply outstripped demand in China.

China, which buys around two-thirds of the world’s iron ore, imported 74.9 million tonnes in August, down 9.3 percent from the previous month, but up 8.5 percent on a year ago.

Li said the country’s iron ore imports may hit 900 million tonnes this year, up about 10 percent from 2013, and potentially exceeding that level if prices continue to slide.

“If the price goes down to $70 per tonne, I think we will import more than 900 million tonnes of iron ore,” he said, as the price slump shuts high-cost mines in China.

“The key for local iron mines is that they are close to steel companies. It’s easy for transportation, so that’s the advantage (against imported) iron ore. The price is key to whether they will close or not.”

Morgan Stanley, which sees a global surplus of 79 million tonnes this year, doubling to 158 million tonnes in 2015, last week said it expects iron ore to drop to $70 in the short term, but should bounce back towards $90 by year-end.

Source from : Reuters