SOURCE: Paragon Report

Paragon Report

January 08, 2013 08:20 ET

Improving Chinese Steel Demand Sends Iron Ore Prices Soaring to 15-Month Highs

The Paragon Report Provides Stock Research on Cliffs Natural Resources and Rio Tinto

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Jan 8, 2013) - The Iron Ore Industry has had a strong start to the new year as rising steel demand in China have sent prices for the commodity soaring to a 15-month high. Prices for iron-ore have rallied 75 percent from the lows seen in September. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Iron Ore Industry and provides equity research on Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) and Rio Tinto plc (NYSE: RIO).

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According to Antaike Information Development stockpiles of iron ore at local ports in China totaled 71.3 million metric tons as of December 21st, the lowest in two years. China's largest steelmaker Baoshan Iron and Steel has stated it will raise prices for the third consecutive month in February, providing a positive outlook for steel demand in China.

"The sharp rise of iron-ore prices driven by aggressive buying from mills amid higher steel prices is building up the case that demand may be improving on the back of China's new urbanization initiatives," said Morgan Stanley analyst Fotis Giannakoulis in a recent report. "A new wave of purchasing looks possible."

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Cliff's North American operations produce 13 grades of iron ore pellets, including standard, fluxed and high manganese, for use in customers' blast furnaces as part of the steelmaking process. In the Asia-Pacific region, the company supplies steelmakers with direct-shipping fines and lump iron ore. Shares of the company have gained nearly 30 percent in the past month.

Rio Tinto's iron ore business is the second largest supplier to the iron ore market which makes steel for industrial and infrastructure use. The company's iron ore operations in the Pilbara have a current annual capacity of 237 million tons, with advanced plans to increase capacity to 290 million tons by 2013, and to 360 million tons by 2015.

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