Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) share price threatens fresh year-to-date low

Rio Tinto shares briefly marking fresh year-to-date lows amid tumbling commodity prices.

| More on:
Miner standing at quarry looking upset

Image source: Getty Images

The Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) share price dived 3.73% right after the morning bell on Friday, marking a fresh year-to-date low of $93.18.

Shares in the iron ore major have since bounced back, trading 1.82% lower at $95.03.

Nevertheless, it’s an ugly sign of continued weakness for the Rio Tinto share price, which is already down 17.62% year-to-date.

What’s driving weakness in the Rio Tinto share price?

Iron ore prices drop amid weak steel demand

Iron ore prices have been lingering around US$100-120 a tonne in the past few weeks, since its free fall from record highs of US$230 a tonne.

This is against the backdrop of weak Chinese economic data, with the world’s second largest economy reporting September quarter GDP growth of 4.9% year-on-year on Monday. This figure missed expectations of a 5.2% increase, according to analysts polled by Reuters.

Iron ore prices fell overnight on Thursday, sliding US$7.14 or 5.8% to US$116.93 a tonne.

Chinese iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange for January 2022 delivery opened lower on Friday, currently down 2.5% to around 680 yuan (~US$106.25).

Aluminium prices slip from 13-year highs

Another factor weighing on the Rio Tinto share price could be the recent pullback in aluminium prices.

Aluminium prices briefly rallied to 13-year highs of US$3,198 a tonne on 18 October, fueled by production cuts across China and Europe.

Aluminium and related materials such as bauxite and alumina have retreated in recent days as Chinese authorities take action to ease its energy crisis.

China’s energy crisis and coal shortage have been major drivers behind surging aluminium prices, which forced industrial plants to curtail production.

Copper prices retreat from record highs

The overnight fall in copper prices might also be taking some heat out of the Rio Tinto share price.

This marks a quick turnaround of events for copper, which quickly surged around 16% from US$4.15/lb to record highs of US$4.82/lb between 6 and 18 October.

Copper prices jumped amid concerns that demand was far outpacing supply.

Prices pulled back sharply overnight, down 3.7% to US$4.56/lb as China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) began evaluating measures to intervene in surging commodity prices.

Should you invest $1,000 in Rio Tinto right now?

Before you consider Rio Tinto , you'll want to hear this.

Motley Fool Investing expert Scott Phillips just revealed what he believes are the 5 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Rio Tinto wasn't one of them.

The online investing service he’s run for nearly a decade, Motley Fool Share Advisor, has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.* And right now, Scott thinks there are 5 stocks that are better buys.

*Returns as of August 16th 2021

Motley Fool contributor Kerry Sun has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

More on 52-Week Lows