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Rio Agrees 33% Iron Ore Price Cut With Nippon Steel

May 26, 2009 at 9:19 by Andriy Moraru

Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second- largest iron ore exporter, agreed to a 33 percent cut in contract prices with Japan’s Nippon Steel Corp., the first decline in seven years as the global recession slashes demand.

Nippon Steel, the world’s second-largest steelmaker, agreed to pay Rio 97 cents a dry metric ton unit for its benchmark product in the year started April 1, London-based Rio said today in a statement. That’s about $61 a ton and compares with last year’s record of 144.66 cents for Rio’s Pilbara Blend fines.

The accord, the first major settlement this year, may be resisted by Chinese mills, the biggest producers, who’ve called for price cuts of as much as 50 percent. The worst recession since World War II has slashed demand for autos and building materials, cutting profits for steelmakers and ore producers.

“What looks like a pretty good deal might end up being a bit tougher when they come across the Chinese,” said Mark Pervan, a senior commodity strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Melbourne. “Historically you could say this is a done deal, when Rio strikes with Nippon, well everyone follows, but I get a feeling maybe the Chinese have got something else in store.”

From Bloomberg News.

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