According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China (CFR Qingdao) were changing hands for $174.07 per tonne tonne, setting a new near-decade high.
Year-to-date, the steelmaking raw material has enjoyed 8.5% gains after an 80% rise last year. The benchmark hit an all-time high of $191.70 in February 2011.
The high-grade Brazilian index (65% Fe fines) also advanced to a near record high of $195.30 a tonne, after rising about 78% over the past year.
Iron ore’s stellar run was largely due to the rising industrial demand from China. Last year, it produced a record 1.05 billion tonnes of steel, which was the first time the 1 billion mark has been exceeded.
However, iron ore may lose steam in 2021 on recovering supply from top exporters Australia, Brazil and South Africa, as well as early signs that Chinese steel output is likely to stabilize this year, according to industry analyst Clyde Russell.
China’s steel demand is likely to rise moderately this year, and probably not by more than supply of iron ore can keep up with, Russell said.