Wednesday 28th Jun, 2017

Iron ore slides despite China growth

Iron ore stockpiles at Port Hedland. Photo: BHP Billiton
Iron ore stockpiles at Port Hedland. Photo: BHP Billiton

The price of iron ore has now fallen by more than 30% since its February peak, despite news this week of better-than-expected GDP growth in China.

Iron ore was trading at US$66.25 a tonne overnight, as the gap between supply and demand continues to grow.

The price is down more than 10% in a week, and more than 30% since the US$95 a tonne peak price seen in February.

BHP Billiton’s share price on the ASX has dropped 6.0% in a week, while Rio Tinto’s is down 2.3%, and Fortescue Metals Group’s is down 10.6%.

The iron ore slide is reportedly due to weak steel demand in China, which comes despite the country reporting 6.9% GDP growth in the first quarter – a higher mark than what was anticipated.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported the 6.9% growth in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same quarter in 2016, and 1.3% growth on the final quarter of 2016.

Primary industry value added was up 3.0%, secondary industry value added was up 6.4%, and growth in tertiary industry was 7.7%.

“Since the beginning of 2017,” the Bureau wrote in its quarterly report, “people from all regions … adhered to the general working guideline of making progress while maintaining stability, steered the new normal in economic development with the new development philosophy, and advanced the supply-side structural reform.

“As positive changes kept emerging and major indicators performed better than expected, the national economy maintained the momentum of steady and sound development from the second half of last year, getting off to a good start in 2017 and laying a solid foundation for accomplishing the whole-year growth target.”