22/09/14 – Pressure to continue on iron ore


The price of iron has fallen for four straight days.

Iron ore finished last week at a new five-year low as demand for steel in China’s property sector remains weak and supply shutdowns are yet to trickle through to the spot price.

Falling for the fourth-straight day, the benchmark iron ore price for immediate delivery at the port of Tianjin in China, dipped 1.6 per cent, on Friday evening, to $US81.70 per tonne.

On Thursday last week, the average price of new homes in China fell for the fourth-straight month. Of the 70 cities measures by the National Bureau of Statistics, prices fell in 68, were unchanged in one and increased in one.

China’s property sector is one of the country’s largest consumers of steel, around 24 per cent, which is made from iron ore.

“Iron ore is going to continue to be under pressure, unless we see the Chinese government come out with a fresh stimulus package, which would benefit the housing market,” ANZ senior commodity analyst Daniel Hynes said.

“That’s where the focus has been and they’ve continued to keep credit conditions tight in that sector, demand has been subdued, and as a consequence steel producers have been reluctant to restock any of their iron ore inventory in light of that fragile outlook.”

Most analysts are predicting a rally in iron ore towards the end of 2014 as high cost producers begin to pull supply out of the market.

There have been reports of some Australian and Chinese operators wrapping up, but those marginal supply cuts are yet to have any impact of the supply glut created by the larger producers.
“It’s seems like it’s early days and volumes aren’t particularly large. At this stage, it’s not enough to correct the fall, but if it continues it may provide some support further down the track,” Mr Hynes said.

“Demand conditions are still weak and we haven’t really felt the initial impacts of the supply cuts that we’re hearing about.”

ANZ is still forecasting a comeback for the iron ore price, finishing the year around $US98 per tonne.

“Our China economists are expecting that if the government is strong in its target of 7.5 per cent GDP growth this year, then it will have to introduce further stimulus measures,” Mr Hynes said.
“On the back of that, we would expect to see some support come through for steel demand and that would be the catalyst for correcting the fall.”

Source – The Sydney Morning Herald – Business Day