Commodity Market Report

Iron ore market service - Q4 2021 outlook to 2035

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2021 was a misnomer of a year for iron ore. Demand registered it's first annual decline since 2016 while prices hit ten year highs! The driver was Chinese pig iron production which started strong but finished weak and is on track to fall by 6% in 2021, eroding nearly all the growth that occurred in 2020. As the Chinese economy shifts from investment to consumption and scrap increasingly displaces pig iron, demand for iron ore will continue to shrink. We have cut our supply forecast in response to lower demand and the ever increasing challenge posed by heightened ESG requirements. The net change to the forecast seaborne balance with this update is relatively insignificant, as are the adjustments to our price forecasts. A key challenge for suppliers of seaborne iron ore over the next 10+ years is how to adapt to a market that is on the verge of going ex-growth but with increasingly stringent quality requirements to meet the needs of steel decarbonisation.

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