(Bloomberg) — The global iron ore market is reeling from the sustained and expanding impact of Vale SA’s deadly dam breach last month, which has roiled prices and spurred concerns about a shortage.
Since the initial incident in Brazil in late January, the top producer has announced supply cuts of as much as 70 million tons, although it’s said it will try to offset some lost production.
As the drama unfolds, investors, users and producers are grappling with a host of unknowns, starting with how much supply Vale will actually lose this year and next as executives seek to respond to what’s likely the greatest challenge the company has faced. There are other critical variables too, which will help to influence the direction of prices, which sank on Tuesday for a second day.
Since the disaster, Vale’s force majeure, benchmark spot prices have spiked to the highest since 2017, then lost some ground. Most banks and commentators expect further gains, although opinion is divided on how long the gains will last.
Both Citigroup Inc. and Commonwealth Bank of Australia have flagged the prospects for a near-term surge to $100 a ton. Fitch Solutions Macro Research pushed up its full-year forecast $75 from $60.
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