Australia boosts iron ore, coal price forecasts on China demand – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – October 6, 2016)

Australia on Friday raised its 2016 average price forecasts for its two highest-grossing exports, iron ore and coal, citing a surprise upturn in demand from steelmakers in China.

In its latest quarterly outlook, Australia’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science boosted its forecast for iron ore by 10 percent to an average $48.50 a tonne this year, while metallurgical coal was increased 16 percent to $99.40 a tonne.

The rise reflects a recent surge in the prices of both commodities, with iron ore currently trading around $55 a tonne and metallurgical coal at $200 a tonne, underscoring an unforeseen resurgence in China’s industrial sector, the main buyer of Australian commodities.

“Prices for most construction and steel making raw materials continued to grow in the last three months, despite expectations of decline, because of unexpectedly resilient demand from China’s construction sector and unforeseen supply disruptions,” Mark Cully, the Department’s chief economist, said.

Less than a year after coal was declared in terminal decline as governments step up efforts to combat carbon dioxide emissions, coal markets have surged on factors including tighter regulations on local production in China.

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