Tue, Jul. 14, 10:57 AM
- ArcelorMittal (MT -1.7%) says it likely will idle the long steel mills it recently installed in its João Monlevade plant in Brazil, citing excess capacity in the sector and stagnating demand.
- The comments from MT's South American head of long steel echo those of the company's chief executive in Brazil, who warned yesterday that the outlook for demand in Brazil's domestic steel market remains gloomy.
- Also: GGB -5.7%, VALE -3.3%, TX -0.7%.
Tue, Jul. 14, 10:31 AM
- Vale (VALE -3.5%) gives back part of yesterday's big gains sparked by news that it would withdraw 25M metric tons of annual production starting this month.
- Vale’s "cut" was not really a cut, as it is merely adjusting its operations to shift production from higher-cost tons to more profitable output; it maintained its 2015 production guidance at 340M tons as well as its longer-term target of producing 450M tons by 2018.
- Morgan Stanley says Vale's move will not reduce supply and will not lead to higher iron ore prices in the short term, and could even have the opposite effect.
- Citigroup says any move would need to result in reduced supply to have a prolonged influence on physical markets and prices, adding that BHP Billiton (BHP -1%) and Rio Tinto (RIO -0.8%) are unlikely to follow Vale’s move.
Mon, Jul. 13, 2:15 PM
- Vale (VALE +6.9%) and other iron ore peers are rallying after reports that Vale plans to cut iron ore production in an attempt to boost profit.
- Peter Poppinga, Vale's executive director for ferrous and strategy, told an industry conference in Sao Paulo today the company would lower iron ore output by 25M metric tons starting this month, with the cuts coming from lower quality products at its mines in south and southeast Brazil and from third-party purchases.
- “Our mantra is not volume at any cost anymore, it’s to maximize margins,” Poppinga said. “It doesn’t mean shutting mines, it means optimizing some production flows at plants.”
- Poppinga also said prices for iron ore, which have been cut almost in half in the past year, are poised to rebound as China shuts mines and replenishes inventories.
- Also: RIO +3.9%, BHP +2.9%, SID +8.4%, CLF +7.2%, X +4.7%, AKS +7.4%, MT +2.4%, NUE +2%, STLD +2.3%.
Wed, Jul. 8, 8:42 AM
- Iron ore prices plunge to their lowest levels in at least six years, sparked by fears that the rout in China’s stock market could hurt demand while the biggest producers continue to raise output.
- Ore delivered to Qingdao sank 10% to $44.59/metric ton overnight, the lowest price dating back to May 2009.
- Iron ore’s 10-day drop started with figures that showed holdings at ports in China rebounded last week while exports from Australia’s Port Hedland climbed to an all-time high., and the slump deepened as China’s stock rout worsened.
- BHP -3%, RIO -4.2%, VALE -3.2%, CLF -4.8% premarket.
Tue, Jul. 7, 11:59 AM
- Vale (VALE -4.2%) shares extend their three-day slide and touches their lowest levels in 10 years, as iron ore drops below $50/metric ton for the first time since April on concern low-cost supplies from producers including Brazil will expand further while demand falls in China.
- Iron ore prices are lower by 5.1% to $49.60, according to a price index compiled by Metal Bulletin, down more than 20% from a June high and capping a nine-day losing streak, the longest losing streak since last August.
- Bloomberg reports that inventories at Chinese ports rose 2.8% last week to 81.55M tons; as trade seems to pick up, analysts say iron ore prices could slump to $40.
- Earlier: China's stock turmoil whacks Freeport McMoRan, copper producers
Tue, Jul. 7, 10:23 AM
- Freeport McMoRan (FCX -7.3%) is the S&P 500's worst performer in early trading as copper prices retreat to five-month lows.
- Other global miners of copper, iron ore and other metals also are posting sharp losses: VALE -6.1%, BHP -3.8%, RIO -3.9%, SCCO -4.4%, TCK -6.4%.
- China’s stock market swoon is magnifying investor fears about weaker demand from one of the world’s largest consumers of raw materials.
- Overnight, the S&P, Goldman Sachs and the Bloomberg commodity indexes fell the most since November, and analysts say the worst is yet to come.
- "China's demand stumble comes at an awkward time, just when more and more supply of raw materials is coming on stream in many sectors. No quick fix in sight," says HSBC co-head of Asian economic research Frederic Neumann.
- ETFs: JJC, CPER, CUPM
Fri, Jul. 3, 2:11 PM
- China says it will allow 400K deadweight ton ships to dock at its ports, officially ending a three-year ban that had effectively shut out Vale's (NYSE:VALE) giant vessels.
- The Valexmax mega-ships, which were designed to cut the costs of transporting iron ore to China, were banned by the government in early 2012 on safety concerns.
- The ability of Valemaxes to take cargoes directly to China and cut costs by $4-$6/metric ton, comes as iron ore prices struggle near their lowest level since 2009 due to a global supply glut.
Thu, Jul. 2, 3:49 PM
- Iron ore prices fell more than 5%, suffering the largest one-day percentage loss since March and falling ~15% since hitting a multi-month high of $65.61/metric ton on June 11.
- Analysts believe a prolonged wet season in the Pilbara region of Western Australia affected output, in particular at mines owned by Rio Tinto (RIO +0.6%), the world’s no. 2 producer of iron ore.
- Traders also noted shipments from Australia and Brazil, another major supplier, have started to increase as the weather improved, and a further decline in Shanghai Rebar futures.
- ANZ says iron ore is likely to fetch $53/metric ton in coming months, while Goldman Sachs is even more bearish, believing iron ore will average $49 in Q3.
- Also: BHP +2%, VALE +1.3%.
Wed, Jul. 1, 6:44 PM
- It’s time to add to short positions in high-cost iron ore producers Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) and Fortescue Metals (OTCPK:FSUMF), Wolfe Research’s Gordon Johnson says.
- Iron ore prices are "extremely likely" to go below $47, Johnson believes, noting that when prices touched $47 earlier this year, "no one flinched - no capacity was taken permanently offline, while virtually all planned capacity ramps moved forward."
- With ~52M metric tons of oversupply in 2014, an estimated 107.7M metric tons of incremental supply expected from the big four iron ore producers - RIO, BHP, VALE and Fortescue - and the likelihood that Chinese crude steel production will fall for the first time this year since the 1980s, Johnson estimates that 52M metric tons of excess will grow to ~183M in 2015.
Tue, Jun. 30, 9:48 AM
- Australia's government cuts its price forecast for iron ore in 2015 by 10% to US$54.40/metric ton, a steep drop from the US$60.40 predicted three months ago and $94 forecast in January; for 2016, expectations call for iron ore at US$52.10 from a previous outlook for US$56.80.
- The government estimates the country's YTD earnings from exports of iron ore and other raw materials to China, Japan and elsewhere fell 11% to A$174B; three months ago, it predicted an 8% drop in exports to A$179B.
- The downside guidance is based on a weak outlook for China's steel sector, as production is expected to contract this year and next, while China's residential construction would remain stagnant;
- Outside analysts also blame over-estimates of China's appetite for imported ore by Rio Tinto (RIO -0.4%) and BHP Billiton (BHP -1.1%), as well as Brazil's Vale (VALE -2.1%), which continue to expand production.
Thu, Jun. 25, 3:57 PM
- Brazil's financial markets were routed today after a news report that former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva could be arrested as part of the sweeping corruption scandal involving Petrobras (PBR -4.7%).
- Investors were spooked by a report that a habeas corpus legal filing had been made on behalf of Lula to protect him from unlawful arrest in the corruption investigation; spokespersons later said the proceeding had not been filed by the ex-president or his representatives and that they had no prior knowledge of it.
- Also, Brazil's non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose in May to 6.7%, the highest since 2010, from 6.4% in April, reinforcing worries that the country is on the verge of a recession.
- Also: PBR.A -5%, VALE -3.6%, EBR -4.5%, ELP -2.5%, CIG -4.6%, CPL -2.6%, SBS -2%, BSBR -2.5%, BBD -1.1%, ITUB -2.7%.
- ETFs: EWZ, BRF, BRZU, EWZS, BRXX, BRAQ, BZQ, BRAZ, BRAF, UBR, DBBR, FBZ
Wed, Jun. 24, 11:48 AM
- Vale (VALE +0.2%) says it is considering selling 25%-30% of its base metals business in an IPO but will proceed only if nickel and copper prices are at "appropriate” levels.
- Vale, whose iron ore business has been hurt by a 50% price collapse since late 2013, forecasts increased profit and output from the base metals business, which is based on a 2006 takeover of Inco, after years of setbacks.
- Vale also says it expects to invest $8B-$9B in 2015, an apparent reduction from a presentation published earlier this month when it said it expected to invest $9B as well as a $10.2B forecast given in December.
Wed, Jun. 10, 12:36 PM
- Vale (VALE +5.8%) says it is planning to cut capital spending over the next three years, now expecting to invest a total of $9B this year and $7B next year after spending $12B in its operations in 2014.
- Vale projects a continuing downward trajectory for its capex to $5B in 2017 and $4B in 2018.
- Vale also says it expects to raise $6B-$7B via the sale of certain assets that are not part of its core business.
- Earlier: Vale +6% on upbeat outlook for China iron ore demand, supply
Wed, Jun. 10, 10:11 AM
- Vale (VALE +6%) shoots higher as CEO Murilo Ferreira predicts a pickup in Chinese demand for iron ore with supplies set to tighten in H2 2015.
- Chinese iron ore imports will rise with domestic production down by ~200M metric tons after prices tumbled 60% from a 2013 peak, the CEO says, adding that “several Chinese producers - a higher number than people realize - have already left the business."
- Ferreira expects the global seaborne market for the key ingredient in steel production to grow 3.6% to 1.44B tons this year, adding that production elsewhere also is receding due to higher output costs.
- Also: BHP +3.5%, RIO +3.8%, SID +2.8%, CLF +4.7%.
Wed, Jun. 3, 7:45 AM
- BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) -2.3% premarket after CEO Andrew Mackenzie issued a warning that oversupply will keep global metals prices lower for much longer.
- "In many markets, recently installed low-cost supply can now be stretched to meet growing demand. Incremental supply, induced during periods of higher prices, will take longer to absorb and this means over-supply may persist for some time," the CEO said.
- Mackenzie continues to reject calls for limits on iron ore production in response to lower prices, saying "It is unproductive for Australia to cut or stall low-cost and profitable supply when the cycle drops. It destroys value, penalizes shareholders, customers and employees and disrupts the power of open markets."
- UBS recently estimated that the largest iron ore producers will see global supply expand to 215M tons by 2018 from 45M tons this year.
- On watch: RIO, VALE
Thu, May 28, 9:19 AM
- The price of iron ore has climbed to its highest level in nearly three months despite consistent downbeat coverage from analysts and a rising U.S. dollar, which typically dampens demand for commodities.
- Iron ore stockpiles in China have been declining as steelmakers build up their stores of the material, resulting in limited availability for some types of ore, analysts say; inventories at China's port facilities have dropped to ~85M tons from 86.6M a week earlier and ~100M tons at the start of 2015.
- Iron ore prices have lifted from a decade-low below US$47/ton last month but are still down nearly 40% Y/Y, and analysts lately have turned sour on the commodity’s outlook; Citigroup this week cut its long-run iron ore price forecast by a third to US$55/ton and said it expects prices to average closer to $40 during 2016-18.
- BHP -1.5%, RIO -1.3%, VALE -1.5% premarket.
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