Boom-time iron ore expansion and falling Chinese demand is continuing to take its toll on the industry, as the Tianjin price dropped below the $US90 mark last Tuesday, the lowest price in 21 months.
Bottoming out at $US89.30 per tonne, the iron ore price rallied a little, coming back up to $US90.30 on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night Rio Tinto announced discountsfrom 6 per cent to 13 per cent on 57 per cent Fe Robe River fines, starting July 1.
Last week Fortescue Metals announced a 14 per cent discount for July, up from 12 per cent in June.
The lower grade ore has become harder for the major producers to sell, due to the added expense of processing and higher emissions.
Share prices for iron ore miners have also fallen in the second half FY14, with BHP weathering the storm best with only a 1.2 per cent drop in six months, Rio down 12 per cent, Fortescue down 30 per cent, Mount Gibson down 32 per cent, BC Iron down 40 per cent, and Atlas Iron down 50 per cent.
However, Mining.com’s Frik Els has said that India could take over as “the world’s growth engine”, with a new business-friendly majority government, and growing demand for iron ore that cannot be met by domestic operations.
Compared to China’s 900 million tonnes imported in 2014, India’s demand is nowhere near as high, but still holds promise with steelmaker JSW importing 500,000 tonnes, a new record for a single company in India.