VIDEO: How Rio’s volume bet is boosting iron ore derivatives

China’s weakening economy and huge new volumes of supply entering the market sent seaborne iron ore prices to their lowest levels in five years at the end of 2014.

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Prices fell by close to 50% last year, down from $130 per tonne cfr China to under $66 per tonne in December. A tonne of the same material is now hovering around the $70 per tonne mark.

In the face of this fundamental shift in the market, the sector’s biggest players are continuing to pump millions of tonnes of new material into the market in a bid to maintain market share as the world’s lowest cost producers of iron ore.

As seaborne supplies and price volatility increases, so volumes of iron ore derivatives traded boom as traders look to hedge risk and speculators take bets on which direction prices will go next.

Steel First spoke to Rio Tinto’s head of iron ore, Andrew Harding, to find out how the miner was positioning itself to profit from the commodities downturn, and caught up with iron ore derivatives broker Tom Fegen, at FIS, to ask whether the price crash has been good for the paper market.

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