The price of iron ore has slumped 10% this week amid ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty.
This includes the contraction in China’s economic activity and widespread fears of a looming recession.
Iron ore is essential to the revenues of the major miners on the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO). As such, changes in its price can lead to considerable swings in those companies’ share prices.
Although correlation is not causation, let’s check how the shares of the ASX iron ore giants have fared over the last five days.
How have the ASX’s big iron ore players held up this week?
Shares of Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO) are down 1.22% over the last five trading days. A contraction in Rio’s share price is to be expected as iron ore is the company’s largest business segment, accounting for 80% of its earnings in 2021.
Another factor that may be squeezing Rio shares – and those of other iron ore producers – is the formation of the China Mineral Resources Group.
The entity could attempt to drive down the price of iron ore through the process of collective bulk buying on behalf of domestic companies in China.
BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) also experienced a minor dip with its share price down 0.69% over the last five days. BHP also generates the majority of its revenue from iron ore, but it is considerably more diversified than Rio. This could explain why its contraction is less.
In 2021, 57% of BHP Group’s revenues came from iron ore, while its second-largest operating segment was copper, contributing 25%.
Lastly, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG) shares dipped 0.82%. Iron ore is Fortescue’s primary operating segment, contributing $8.39 billion in revenue in 2021.