MENU

Iron ore officially in bear market

The price of iron ore has officially entered bear market territory, according to Bloomberg. The commodity has lost 20% of its value since its 16-month high of US$158.90 in February. Overnight, iron ore prices slipped a further 1.1% to US$125 a tonne.

Again, it was fears over China’s economic growth and steel production, of which iron ore is a key component, that pushed the price down. Oh, and the fact that large iron ore miners like BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) have been ramping up supply in recent years.

Rio, in particular, has approved billion dollar infrastructure expansion projects, as it heads toward annual production of 360 million tonnes a year. Fortescue in on track to reach 155 million tonnes in production annually, while BHP is expected to produce 183 million tonnes this financial year.

By 2018, broker Morgan Stanley estimates there will be a 300 million tonne oversupply of iron ore, with a surplus of supply first appearing in 2013. That can only put more downward pressure on the iron ore price.Earlier this year, another broker, UBS predicted the iron ore price would reach US$70 a tonne in the September quarter.

Of course this doesn’t just have consequences for Australian iron ore miners. Iron ore is our largest export, and while volumes are going up, they may not be able to compensate for further falls in the commodity price. That means government revenues are likely to fall, and in a worst case scenario, could push Australia into recession.

Foolish takeaway

The saviour may well be the falling Australian dollar and the Reserve Bank. As the dollar falls against the US dollar, Australia receives higher Australian dollar based prices, resulting in higher income. The Central Bank may also come to the party, by cutting official cash rates even further, forcing the dollar down.

In the market for high yielding ASX shares? Get “3 Stocks for the Great Dividend Boom” in our special FREE report. Click here now to find out the names, stock symbols, and full research for our three favourite income ideas, all completely free!

More reading

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in BHP.

The 5 mining stocks we’re recommending in 2019…

For decades, Australian mining companies have minted money for individual investors like you and me. But if you believe the pundits and talking heads on TV, those days are long gone. Finito! Behind us forever…

We say nothing could be further from the truth. To earn the really massive returns, you’ve got to fish where others aren’t fishing—and the mining sector could be primed for a resurgence. That’s why top Motley Fool analysts just revealed their exciting new research on 5 ASX miners they believe could help you profit in 2019 and beyond…

Including:

The best way we see to play the global zinc shortage… Our #1 favourite large-cap miner (hint: it’s not BHP)… one early-stage gold miner we think could hit the motherlode… Plus two more surprising companies you probably haven’t heard of yet!

For free access to our brand-new research, simply click here or the link below. But be warned, this research is available free for a limited time only, and we reserve the right to withdraw it at any time.

Click here for your FREE report!