Global iron ore prices fell 6% last week as investors backed off futures markets activity and Chinese iron ore imports fell sharply in October from September.
The Metal Bulletin’s Fastmarkets 62% Fe iron ore price dropped to around $US80 per tonne on Friday after a fall in futures prices.
The price for 62% Fe fines delivered to northern China ended at $US80.11 per tonne, down by $US3.06 a tonne on the day and off 6% for the week from the previous Friday’s $US85.66 a tonne.
Iron ore prices (for 62%Fe fines delivered to northern China) are now down 36% from the six-year plus peak of just over $US125 a tonne in early July.
That was after China’s trade data for October showed iron ore imports fell for the first time in four months.
Analysts blamed falling profit margins for steel makers as demand slowed for products ahead of the winter season and smog alerts in some big cities.
Imports last month totalled 92.86 million according to data from the General Administration of Customs. That was down 6.5% from 99.36 million tonnes in September but up 5% from 88.40 million tonnes brought in a year earlier.
For the first ten months of the year, the world’s imports totalled 877.18 million tonnes, down from 891.48 million tonnes in the same period last year.
Stocks of iron ore were not a reason for last week’s fall. While Reuters reported that inventories of imported iron ore at Chinese ports climbed to 125.55 million tonnes by the end of September, from a 125.25 million tonnes at the end of August, other data last week showed stocks currently sit at 116.45 million tonnes as of November 8, 14.38 million tonnes down on the same week in 2018.