"The Iron Ore Market Has Gone Berserk" - What Drove Iron's Biggest Surge Ever

'Efficient' markets at their very best once again. Following a 19% spike overnight, analysts and traders alike are stunned by "the departure from fundamentals" as "the iron ore and steel markets have gone berserk." On the heels of home price surges, sent soaring after government suggestions that they will support growth, "investors are expecting further monetary easing by the Chinese government to boost steel demand," but as Bloomberg notes there has been no "corresponding increase in physical orders."

Seriously...

 

As Bloomberg reports, Monday’s surge was accompanied by a rally in producer stocks. Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. jumped 24 percent in Sydney trading, where Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd. also climbed. Rio, the second-biggest mining company, rebounded from an earlier decline in London trading and was up 0.4 percent by 12:15 p.m. local time.

“There may be some short-covering in the futures markets today,” said Xu Huimin, an analyst at Huatai Great Wall Futures Co. in Shanghai, referring to investors closing bets on declines.

 

“The crazy surge in futures prices has surprised traders and steel mills, as they haven’t seen a corresponding increase in physical orders.”

 

“The recent boom of the real estate market and price has positive influence on the steel price,” Michael Zhu, president of Hong Kong-based trader Millennia Resources Ltd. and former global sales director of Vale SA, said by e-mail. The “market believes the demand for steel will be increased with the recovery of real-estate market.”

However, while at the annual National People’s Congress at the weekend, the authorities said they’d allow a record high deficit and higher money-supply target to support growth of 6.5 percent to 7 percent; they also vowed to help cut overcapacity in steel, potentially curbing demand for iron ore.

“We expect the current rally to be short-lived,” analysts Christian Lelong and Amber Cai said in a note predicting further growth in iron ore supply in the quarters ahead.

 

“The causality will revert sooner rather than later, and steel raw materials will one again drive steel prices rather than the other way around.”

Recent gains in iron ore probably won’t last, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report received on Monday, forecasting a drop back to $35 a ton in the final quarter. This year’s rally has been driven by rising steel prices in China, a reversal of the normal relationship seen between the raw material and the manufactured product, Goldman said.