Bulk Commodities Update – April 2014

Trends for bulk commodity prices were mixed in April, with relative stability (at very weak levels) for both thermal and metallurgical coal, while iron ore briefly recovered from the low levels in March, before retreating again.

By

  • Trends for bulk commodity prices were mixed in April, with relative stability (at very weak levels) for both thermal and metallurgical coal, while iron ore briefly recovered from the low levels in March, before retreating again.
  •  In the first quarter of 2014, global steel production rose by 3.7% year-on-year, to total 404 million tonnes – led by China (despite concerns around pollution, profitability and access to finance).
  • Iron ore prices have generally trended downwards since December 2013, with increasing volatility. Prices plunged in the early part of March, briefly recovered before falling again. Prices are forecast to fall further across the year, given growing seaborne supply.
  • Metallurgical coal prices have declined since October 2013, leading to the lowest contract since the switch to quarterly pricing in 2010, and the weakest overall since the 2007 Japanese financial year. Cutbacks to production should allow some recovery in prices.
  • Annual contracts for thermal coal were settled at their lowest level for five years. Given adequate supply and the potential for production cuts, we expect prices to remain range bound in the short term.

For further analysis download the full report.