China's domestic iron ore prices stable ahead of winter
Singapore, 23 November (Argus) — Chinese domestic iron ore concentrate prices are steady heading into winter, supported by mine shutdowns that have limited supplies.
Iron ore concentrate on a 66pc Fe basis in Tangshan city is priced at 655 yuan/t ($105/t) ex-works including value-added tax (VAT), up from Yn625/t a month earlier.
Domestic concentrate 65pc Fe basis was offered today at Yn480/wet metric tonne ex-works without VAT in Tangshan. This is the equivalent of Yn550/t with the 12.5pc moisture removed. Even though there have been steel output cuts in Tangshan, concentrate prices have been stable, a steel mill buyer said.
Mine shutdowns are supporting the price, a Hebei mill buyer said. The market price in Hebei for 66pc Fe concentrate is Yn660/t with delivery and VAT included, a mill buyer said. This is down from Yn685/t the mill paid earlier this month.
Smaller iron ore mines have come under additional scrutiny this year as part of China's increased environmental protection efforts. Hebei, with the most concentrate output of any province, is at the centre of mining compliance efforts. Hebei shut down all of its 1,170 iron ore mines in June for inspections. China could cancel permits for around a third of its iron ore mines in the coming years, or about a fifth of total run-of-mine output, if they do not meet tougher standards.
"Prices will gain this period due to restrictions I think, maybe Tangshan will be influenced more, mills still prefer higher grade cargoes, so demand will be firm," added the source.
In Shandong province the 65pc concentrate price is at Yn709/t with delivery and VAT included, down by Yn31/t from mid-October.
Anhui province's delivered 65pc concentrate price has fallen by Yn20-30/t to Yn700/t with VAT included since October and could be negotiated another Yn10-20/t lower, an Anhui mill buyer said.
Wu'an's 66pc concentrate is priced at around Yn590/t without VAT or delivery in offers from the large state-owned mining firm HanXingJu. Supplies have been limited recently, a buyer said.
Hainan domestic concentrate 63pc basis was offered at Yn380/t without VAT or delivery to a south China-based trading firm.