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WEEKLY IRON ORE WRAP: Demand outlook recovers

Friday, 04 February 2022

Seaborne iron ore prices slumped before bouncing back to $146.60/dmt on Feb. 4, down $1.30/dmt on the week, as the demand outlook recovered during the week.

Prices nosedived at the beginning of the week as market participants turned cautious on the warning from the National Development and Reform Committee in China, on the "abnormal price fluctuations" for iron ore despite stable demand and supply. Prices recovered gradually towards the latter part of the week as most market participants still held a positive demand outlook for after the Winter Olympics. No spot seaborne and portside transactions were heard during the week as China was on holiday.

Some sources expected the premiums of the mainstream Pilbara Blend Fines, or PBF, to catch up post the Lunar New Year holiday, as other mainstream fines such as Brazilian Blend Fines, MAC Fines and Jimblebar Fines outperformed PBF in terms of the magnitude of appreciation in their floating prices in January.

Seaborne lump premiums stabilized at 31 cents/dmtu during the week. Some sources also held positive short-term views on lump premiums as seaborne supply was scarce and portside stocks had been declining for a few weeks. Furthermore, lump ratios in Chinese blast furnaces could remain high during the Winter Olympics due to sintering curbs.

-- Staff

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