Iron ore prices rose further on 20 April to inch closer to last high of USD 191.7 seen 11 year ago with benchmark physical 62% Australian iron ore fines increasing by USD 7.8 per tonne to USD 189.61 per tonne CFR Qingdao, spurred by robust steel profit margins of about CNY 750-1100 per tonne (USD 120-160) in China and disappointing shipment figures from major miners Rio Tinto, BHP and Vale.
Put together, iron ore supplies from Rio Tinto BHP & Vale were lower by about 30 million tonnes in January-March 2021 as compared to October-December 2020.
JANUARY-MARCH 2021 IRON ORE SALES
Rio Tinto – 77.8 million tonnes, -12% QoQ
BHP – 66.032 million tonnes, -7% QoQ
Vale – 59.298 million tonnes, -28% QoQ
As the USD 7.8 increase on Tuesday was driven by news of about 26 million QoQ shortfall from Rio Tinto & Vale, yesterday’s announcement of about 5 million tonnes QoQ shortfall in sales by BHP could further propel iron ore towards all time high of USD 197 seen in February 2008.
However Rio Tinto, BHO & Vale have maintained full year guidance
Rio Tinto – 325-340 million tonnes
BHP – 276-286 million tonnes
Vale – 315-335 million tonnes
Top 3 – 916- 961 million tonnes