Bulk Commodities Update – March 2013

The recent rally in bulk commodity prices has stalled with both coal and iron ore prices giving back some of their recent gains; average monthly prices declined in March. Global steel production has continued to grow at a good pace in recent months, driven by increasing Chinese …

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  • The recent rally in bulk commodity prices has stalled with both coal and iron ore prices giving back some of their recent gains; average monthly prices declined in March.
  • Global steel production has continued to grow at a good pace in recent months, driven by increasing Chinese production despite pressure on margins from easing steel prices, record high inventories and the elevated cost of inputs. Rebar futures are showing uncertainty in end-user demand for steel, but recent improvement in PMI indicators is a positive signal.
  • The average price for iron ore (62%) is estimated to have been around US$131 per tonne FOB for March, down from US$142 in February. The spot price is currently steady at around US$137 per tonne (CFR).
  • The average spot price of thermal coal shipped from Newcastle (FOB) fell by 3½% in March, more than reversing the rise seen in February.
  • We have revised our near-term price forecasts slightly lower for each of the bulk commodities reflecting adequate supplies in the market and the slower than anticipated recovery in Chinese steel demand and sluggish real economic activity across most parts of the globe. Nevertheless, an anticipated turn around in the global economy later this year (and accelerating Chinese growth in H1) will keep commodity prices elevated.

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