Record high stockpiles at Chinese ports ‘will only have short-term impact’

The record high iron ore stockpiles at China’s ports will only have a short-term impact on prices, the Singapore Exchange’s iron ore conference heard on Wednesday May 7.

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They will also not affect top-tier producers’ operations, officials of several miners told delegates.

Stockpiles of the steelmaking raw material at Chinese ports totalled 113.06 million tonnes as at May 4, a record high, according to local data provider Mysteel.

"[The level] is less than two months’ worth of consumption. This may have a short-term impact on prices, but not much in the medium term,” Zhuang Binjun, Fortescue Metals Group’s gm for business development, said.

While Chinese port stockpiles have risen to a record high, steel production in the country is also at a similar historical level, he pointed out.

FMG is confident about the growth of demand in Asia in years to come.

Vale, the world’s largest iron ore producer, shares a similar view.

The port stockpiles have never gone below one month’s worth of consumption, Vale’s global director for iron ore marketing and sales Claudio Alves pointed out. Fluctuations are normal and do not affect the market fundamentals, he added.

The miner does not see a need to slow down production because of short-term price changes. It also has no plans to delay any of its expansion plans as it is one of the most cost competitive iron ore producers.

Iron ore stockpiles at Chinese ports had remained at a stable level of 70 million tonnes for nearly a year – from September 2012 to June 2013 – before jumping above the 100-million-tonne mark, partly due to an increase in financing trades, Baosteel Corp’s assistant president Zhang Dianbo said.

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