Commodity Market Report

Global iron ore long-term outlook Q2 2020

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15 June 2020

Global iron ore long-term outlook Q2 2020

Report summary

2020 is shaping up to be another extraordinary year for iron ore. The 62% Fe benchmark index will come in comfortably above $90/t CFR in H1-2020, providing the iron ore majors with EBITDA margins above 65% - only marginally below the boom years of 2010/11. The difference between now and then is that we are currently on the brink of a deep global recession, with China, the driver of global seaborne trade, at or close to peak hot metal production. The drivers of high prices in H1-2020 – strong Chinese demand and weak Brazilian supply – should both dissipate as the year progresses, putting downward pressure on prices, and to a lesser extent, margins. Seaborne supply and demand will become more closely aligned from 2021, with non-core “swing supply” being forced to withdraw from the market as prices cut into the seaborne cost curve. We forecast a cyclical low point in 2023.

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