DCE iron ore futures performed relatively weak today, physical port price in the morning lowered around 10-15 yuan/mt. PBF at Shandong and Tangshan port dealt as 1125-1132 yuan/mt and 1130 yuan/mt, respectively, 3-10yuan/mt lower than yesterday. According to the calculation of 26 steel mills affected by production restrictions in Tangshan tracked by SMM, including 126 BFs, the actual pig iron output of Tangshan’s environmental protection policy is calculated to be 8.33 million mt, a decrease of about 17% from 10.07 million mt in the previous two months. In March, the iron ore demand of steel mills in Tangshan area decreased by 2.96 million mt. Also, iron ore inventory in some steel mills of Tangshan remained at a high level, thus the purchase demand was significantly weakened. In addition, according to SMM’s research, the domestic steel mills’ blast furnace operating rate this week fell 0.3% to 84% from the previous week. However, the profitability of steel mills continued to increase the demand for medium and high-grade iron ore, which will still support iron ore’s price. According to SMM’ port price data, the price spread between medium and high grade iron ore has widened to 205 yuan/mt from around 175 yuan/mt in early March.
Source: Metals Market Index (MMi)