Steel Flat Again, Declining Ore Prices Indicate Trouble

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Global iron ore producers are putting up a brave front in the face of falling prices, Live Mint reported recently. Slow growth in steel production and an increase in supply have hindered steel this year. The only silver lining, if there is one, is that new supply is coming in at relatively lower costs. That may see some parts of the market remain viable.

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Global crude steel production grew by just 2.5% in the first quarter of 2014 due to a slowdown in Chinese output, which grew by only 2.4%. Global growth would have been even slower but for a recovery in the European Union. Ore prices have been falling affecting all grades of steel.

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Chinese steel prices closed flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($134.20) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($132.60) per dry metric ton. Chinese HRC saw little change in its price last Friday at CNY 3,360 ($536.78) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 1,390 ($222.06) per metric ton.

The steel billet cash price remained essentially flat at $390.00 per metric ton on the LME. For the fifth day in a row, the steel billet 3-month price remained essentially flat on the LME at $400.00 per metric ton.

The 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract saw little price change last Friday at $645.00 per short ton. The spot price of the US HRC futures contract saw little movement last Friday, closing out around $664.00 per short ton.

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