英国《金融时报》 哈维尔•布拉斯 伦敦报道
BHP Billiton yesterday warned that a global glut of steel will hit “near-term demand” for steelmaking commodities such as iron ore and coking coal, two of the star performers in raw materials markets so far this year. The views of the world’s biggest miner are closely watched by commodities traders as the company has a unique vantage on global trends, producing industrial raw materials from iron ore to copper and thermal coal.
“With global steel production running ahead of real demand in the quarter ended June 2010, we expect output to soften from the record highs achieved in April,” the miner said in its annual results report.
Steelmakers in China, Japan, Europe and the US have already announced output cuts for the second half of the year.
But Marius Kloppers, chief executive, later said the outlook was unclear even for the short-term as some Chinese steelmakers had ramped up production again over the past two weeks as local prices in the country improved.
The price of iron ore and coking coal has doubled since last year as steel production surged, boosting the profitability of BHP Billiton and rivals Rio Tinto and Vale of Brazil.
自去年起，随着钢铁产量大幅飙升，铁矿石和炼焦煤价格也翻了一番，推高了必和必拓及其竞争对手力拓(Rio Tinto)和巴西淡水河谷(Vale of Brazil)的盈利能力。
Spot iron ore prices hit a two-year high above $180 a tonne in April, only to fall back, hitting a low of $117 a tonne in June. Since then, prices have recovered.
Yesterday, benchmark spot iron ore prices from Australia – which feature 62 per cent iron content – fell to $145.5 a tonne, a level that analysts believe could signal a ceiling for the short term, with a floor around $120 a tonne.
China is by far the world’s largest importer of the steelmaking commodities, accounting for half of the market, followed by Japan, South Korea and Germany.
BHP Billiton was far more positive for base metals, particularly copper. It said that consumers were restocking copper and that premiums – the amount paid above the London Metal Exchange prices for physical supplies – continued to rise.