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Iron ore prices started the new year with a bang on Monday as unprecedented demand from China counteracted government calls for sharp cuts in the country’s steel output.
According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China (CFR Qingdao) were changing hands for $165.29 a tonne on Monday, up 3% on the day. In December, the steelmaking raw material hit its highest level since September 2011 after gaining nearly 80% during the year.
“Impact from the pandemic (on iron ore) was not as pessimistic as the market expected,” Zhuo Guiqiu, analyst with Jinrui Capital told Reuters: “The big jump came after Vale lowered its shipments expectations and a robust Chinese steel demand in the fourth quarter.”
China is expected to have forged more than 1 billion tonnes of crude steel in 2020 and imports of iron ore are also running at record levels of more than 1 billion tonnes per annum.
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Iron ore prices hit fresh six-and-a-half year highs on Monday on the back of a Chinese construction and factory expansion boom.
According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $130.17 a tonne on Monday, up 1.4% from Friday’s peg.
That was the highest level for the steelmaking raw material since mid-January 2014 and brings gains for 2020 to over 41%.
China is expected to set a growth target of 5.5% in its 2021–2025 economic development plan, the fourteenth five-year plan since 1953.
While that’s down from the 6.5% GDP expansion target in the 2015–2020 plan, the relative size of the Chinese economy today translates to more than $750 billion being added to its GDP each year.
That’s the equivalent of expanding by the size of the entire economy of Saudi Arabia, Switzerland or Argentina each year. And most of the economic activity will be directed to steel intensive industries including domestic infrastructure, housing and transport.
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