Iron ore is ended the year down almost 50%, making it potentially the worst-performing major commodity of 2014.
Driving the decline has been surging output from iron-ore mines in Australia and elsewhere that has flooded the global market with supply even as China, the world’s biggest buyer of the resource, is slowing down.
A slight uptick in iron ore prices this week was overshadowed by its dramatic yearlong slide, which could outpace even the fall in oil. The Wall Street Journal reported that some analysts believe the steelmaking ingredient will continue falling in the new year.
The US HRC futures contract spot price rose 0.5% on Wednesday, December 31, making it the day’s biggest mover. After three days of flat prices, it closed at $608.00 per short ton. The US HRC futures contract 3-month price remained essentially flat at $605.00 per short ton.
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 ($135.44) and a low price of CNY 840.00 ($135.44) per dry metric ton. The price of Chinese HRC showed little movement on Wednesday at CNY 3,040 ($490.15) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal was unchanged at CNY 1,080 ($174.13) per metric ton.
For the fifth day in a row, the steel billet cash price remained essentially flat on the LME at $500.00 per metric ton. The 3-month price of steel billet held steady on the LME at $480.00 per metric ton.