Iron ore prices rise amidst increased portside stocks and growing steel production




Iron ore prices ended back over $US120 a tonne in Asian dealings on Friday as the market ignored another rise in portside stocks in the week to Thursday.

That was a gain of around $US3 a tonne at the close, reaching $120.60 - the third time the price has been over $US120 a tonne in the past week or so.

Data from the Mysteel website showed that stocks grew by nearly half a million tonnes to reach 148.6 million tonnes at China’s 45 major ports as of May 23.

Thursday’s figure was up a high 18% over the year and came after a 7 million tonne increase the previous week.

Meanwhile, demand for the most important steel product - rebar, or reinforcing steel bars - picked up last week, hinting at improved demand from building and construction.

Production among the 137 Chinese steelmakers rose for a second week to hit a four-month high of 2.36 million tonnes.

However, output was still 12.8% lower than the corresponding period last year, reflecting the downturn in demand from the property sector in particular.

It’s only a small thing, but the frailty of demand from the construction and building sector is a big deal as far as the wider Chinese economy is concerned. Rebar demand, sales, and consumption are as closely watched by economists as any other figure.


Name Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.