Australian Iron Ore Hits 5-Year Low

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At the end of the latest session, benchmark Australian iron ore for immediate delivery to the port of Tianjin, China, was trading at $76.00 a ton, down 1.4% from its previous close of $77.10, the Australian reported.

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It continues a sharp decline for the commodity over the past two weeks after it had staged a strong, if brief, recovery back to levels comfortably above $80 a ton by mid-October.

In all, the iron ore price has given up about 44% in 2014, with the most recent trough representing the lowest level seen since June 2009. Adding to new Australian supplies that have flooded the market all year, even as Chinese steel demand growth has faltered, are reports that steel mills in Beijing have been ordered to suspend production in the lead-up to the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum that starts tomorrow in the capital.

On Wednesday, November 5, the 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract experienced the biggest change, rising 0.5% to $638.00 per short ton. The spot price of the US HRC futures contract weakened by 0.2%, settling at $638.00 per short ton.

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Chinese steel prices were flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($136.77) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($135.14) per dry metric ton. The price of Chinese HRC saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 2,980 ($485.20) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal remained essentially flat at CNY 1,390 ($226.32) per metric ton.

For the fifth consecutive day, the cash price of steel billet held flat on the LME at $465.00 per metric ton. The steel billet 3-month price held steady on the LME at $455.00 per metric ton.

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