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July, 18th 2019

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JUN 13
15:19

Iron ore rockets on supply and oil attacks

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Seaborne iron ore prices have continued to soar on the back of steadily falling port stocks and tight seaborne supply. Rio Tinto is limiting supply of PB Fines because of quality issues, while commodity markets generally have been rocked by the attacks on shipping in the Middle East.

The Kallanish KORE 62% Fe index gained $3.29/t to $108.23/dry metric tonne cfr Qingdao. Prices have now surged $9.98/t over four days and are at the highest level since 29 April 2014. On COREX, 170,000t of Brazilian Blend sold at $114.5/t with a laycan in 13-22 July, while 80,000t of Jimblebar sold at a floating price.

On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, September 62% Fe futures settled down CNY 3/t at CNY 766.5/t ($110.88/t), but closed just off a new record high of CNY 782/t. On the Singapore Exchange, meanwhile, July 62% Fe futures settled up $4.09/t at $106.38/t. In Tangshan, however, billet prices were flat at CNY 3,500/t as steel prices have not been as supported as iron ore.

Rio Tinto will be limiting volumes of PB Fines for delivery later in the summer. It appears the miner suffered quality issues as a knock-on effect of Cyclone Veronica in the first quarter and is now being forced to limit some cargos to ensure the brand stays on specification.

Thursday also saw commodity prices more broadly surge. An attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman has sparked fears of a wider conflict in the region. That sent oil prices surging. In addition to the impact of cost on any goods passing through the region, there is also an impact on freight rates which will affect all goods, and that was also being factored in to higher prices.