13/03/2015 – Iron ore bounces off six-year low

 

The price of iron ore has rebounded off a six-year low but remains below $US60 a tonne as investors pause after the recent heavy sell-off.

At the end of the latest offshore session, benchmark iron ore for immediate delivery to the port of Tianjin in China was trading at $US57.90 a tonne, up 0.4 per cent from its previous close of $US57.70 a tonne, which represented a six-year low.

The commodity is still over 10 per cent lower over the past month having lost ground in 11 of the last 14 trading sessions.

Helping the minor recovery was renewed hopes that Beijing would offer fresh stimulus for the Chinese economy as talk emerged of lending curbs being scaled-back at some stage this year.

Any attempts to boost the Chinese economy will be taken as a positive in the iron ore market given its demand represents a significant portion of global demand.

The latest pricing action follows heated debate earlier in the week about the tactics of iron ore heavyweights Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. The two firms defended their strategy of lifting production to an oversupplied market, but smaller rival Cliffs said it had the potential to drag the price down to as low as $US30 a tonne.

“You call that strategy? I call it self-destruction,” Cliffs boss Lourenco Goncalves said.

Most analysts, on the other hand, see a price floor around $US50 a tonne, with a recovery back into the $US60s or $US70s later in the year.

Such talk has done little to aid the beaten-down stock prices of local miners, with iron ore specialists Fortescue Metals Group, BC Iron, Atlas Iron and Mt Gibson Iron all trading near multi-year lows.

The largest of the quartet, Fortescue, has lost over 20 per cent in the last fortnight and ended Thursday’s session at a new six-year trough as analysts warned of downgrades to their forecasts.

“Fortescue is a very high-risk proposition, highly leveraged to iron ore and with significant debt at the wrong point in the cycle,” Morningstar’s Matthew Hope said in a note.

“Fortescue’s future relies on the US debt markets remaining open and some supply discipline from the three iron ore majors. The company appears to be able to refinance and extend the duration of debt coming due with a major refinancing underway.”

 

Source – BusinessSpectator.com.au