A surprise spike in iron ore prices this year is shaking out fresh supplies of the steelmaking raw material, but some miners say it is too soon to aggressively restart production shuttered by a years-long price rout.
Iran said it has increased shipments to top iron ore consumer China, while traders have also seen more cargoes from India and Malaysia as material kept idled in warehouses and ports is pushed out to buyers to take advantage of the price spurt.
Iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI ended January-March with a 24 percent gain after pushing above $50 a tonne, far outpacing gold that had its best quarter in three decades. The steelmaking raw material is still the top performing commodity this year despite falling 16 percent from last month’s peak, but the wild swings have kept miners wary about the longevity of the price recovery.
“The trade signals are not strong enough yet for a sustainable lift in demand,” said UBS commodities analyst Daniel Morgan.
Still, in Iran, vessels loaded with iron ore bound for China have increased “remarkably”, Keyvan Jafari Tehrani, head of international affairs at the Iron Ore Producers and Exporters Association of Iran, told Reuters.
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