China Closes Iron Ore Export Tax Loophole, Futures Plummet

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Cold-rolled steel

China’s iron ore and rebar futures fell on the first trading day of the new year after the government scrapped an export tax rebate on boron-added steel products on Dec. 31.

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Iron ore futures for May delivery on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 1.6% to 500 yuan ($80) a ton in morning trade. The most traded May rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was down 1.3% at 2,560 yuan per ton.

With the domestic steel sector struggling with chronic overcapacity and sluggish growth in demand, the export market provided a lifeline for mills and trading firms in 2014, with steel product shipments surging 46.8% in the first 11 months.

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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 ($135.20) and a low price of CNY 840.00 ($135.20) per dry metric ton. At CNY 3,040 ($489.29) per metric ton, the price of Chinese HRC was essentially unchanged. The price of Chinese coking coal saw little movement at CNY 1,080 ($173.83) per metric ton.

The cash price of steel billet held steady on the LME at $500.00 per metric ton. The 3-month price of steel billet was unchanged on the LME at $480.00 per metric ton.

The US HRC futures contract spot price fell 0.2% to $607.00 per short ton. The US HRC futures contract 3-month price saw little change in its price last Friday at $605.00 per short ton.

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