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Imported iron ore prices fall; supplies rise in China's ports


13:30, November 02, 2011

BEIJING, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- China's steelmakers have been more cautious in importing iron ore following recent price declines, as the world's top buyer continued to build up inventories in the week ending Oct. 31, according to the Xinhua-China Iron Ore Price Index released on Tuesday.

Stockpiles at 25 major ports in China added 0.78 percent week-on-week to 93.75 million metric tonnes amid weak demand in China, which is the world's largest iron ore consumer.

The price index for 63.5-percent-grade iron ore imports slumped 13.5 percent, or 20 points, to 128 points in the week, while the index for 58-percent-grade imports lost 7.3 percent, or 8 points, to 101.

Chinese steel manufacturers and iron ore traders are reluctant to return to the market due to the sharp declines in spot iron ore prices, Xinhua analysts said in the latest iron ore report.

In China, imported iron ore prices dropped nearly 30 percent in October to the lowest level this year amid weaker demand from sectors of property development and infrastructure facilities construction.

Iron ore dealers, who believe it's now an oversupplied market, are unwilling to buy iron ore, and stockpiles of expensive ore remain stubbornly high as the global commodity market has tumbled and steel output has fallen in China leading to the excess at ports, according to Xinhua analysts.

On the supplier's front, mining giants BHP of Australia and Vale of Brazil recently said they were open to talks with Chinese steel companies to negotiate a possible cut in contract prices for the fourth quarter.

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