RESEARCH: Key takeaways from the latest Steel Raw Materials Market Tracker

The latest forecasts from Fastmarkets’ team of analysts are ready to view.

  • Iron ore prices have shot up as market participants have judged the supply risks from Covid-19 higher at this point in time when there is already a tight seaborne market. Despite the efforts to ramp up, Vale is struggling to catch up with its pre-dam disaster export volumes and its slow recovery has only been hit further by the coronavirus pandemic. Brazilian iron ore exports in the first five months of the year were down 13.2% year on year to 115.3 million tonnes. Exports to almost every market dropped, with China being the only destination that recorded a rise.
  • We expect that the price for high-grade iron ore fines will be most affected as Australian miners could potentially make up for lost Brazilian shipments in the mid- and low-grade segments. However, in the coming months, iron ore prices will face the biggest downside risks if Brazil’s curtailment of the coronavirus spread coincides with a downward shift in iron ore demand from Chinese mills which enter a slower summer season, we anticipate.
  • While Chinese buying has been driving demand and boosting prices, the downside risks from the rest of the world have mounted with Covid-19 restrictions. And this has affected coking coal prices in a negative way, while supporting seaborne iron ore prices at the same time.
  • For example, the US metallurgical coal trade is not dependent on China, the only lively import market currently. Major importers of US-origin coking coal include Brazil, European countries, Ukraine, India, Japan and South Korea. Shipments to China accounted only for 3% of the total met coal exports from the US in the first four months of this year.
  • With demand from India struggling in recent months as the country went into lockdown to contain the spread of the Covid-19 since late March, US sellers have struggled to shift material elsewhere, adding pressure to metallurgical coal prices. Moreover, Brazil, the biggest single buyer of US coking coal, has become a hot spot for the virus, which may have affected its imports of metallurgical coal. In the meantime, Australia is gradually increasing its exports, adding to perceptions of surplus supply conditions in the met coal market.

Click here to view the Steel Raw Materials Market Tracker in full. If you are not a subscriber but would like see a free sample report, please click here.

What to read next
Fastmarkets invited feedback from the industry on the pricing methodology for cobalt hydroxide, min 30% Co, inferred, China, $lb, via an open consultation process between May 4 and June 1, 2023. This consultation was done as part of our published annual methodology review process.
Fastmarkets will discontinue its consumer buying price assessments for machine shop turnings in the Cleveland and Pittsburgh markets effective Tuesday June 6.
Fastmarkets has decided to proceed with the launch of a new European low carbon ferro-chrome price covering material with lower chrome content.
Fastmarkets invites feedback on a proposal to increase the publication frequency of non-exchange-deliverable equivalent-grade (EQ) copper cathode premium, cif Shanghai, from once every two weeks to once every week.
The outlook for North American steel scrap prices has headed further into bearish territory ahead of June’s trade, with prices for all grades expected to fall again after a round of across-the-board decreases in May
Fastmarkets is inviting feedback on a change of publishing time for our ferro-chrome price in the Chinese domestic market as well as ferro-chrome import prices in Japan and South Korea, to 5-6pm Shanghai time from 2-3pm London time.
We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.