GENEVA – UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, says global iron ore production set a new record, 1.92 billion tonnes, in 2011. International iron ore trade also set a record, 1.12 billion tonnes, the 10th year in a row.
The report indicates that world iron ore production grew with the gradual recovery of the steel industry after the 2008 global financial crisis. New iron ore mines added 125 million tonnes to the world total since May 2011. Among major producers, Australia upped its share by 12.7%, Brazil by 5.1% and China by 2.1%. Production in India was down 7.5%.
Iron ore prices, too, enjoyed an upward trend through most of 2011, according to UNCTAD. This was largely due to increasing demand in China and the inability of Chinese producers to meet the demand. In recent years, producers have abandoned the benchmark system of setting iron ore prices once a year, so price volatility will continue.
As the steel industry strengthens, the report says to expect iron ore use to grow to about 2.00 billion tonnes in 2012 and 2.08 billion tonnes in 2013 while prices will decline from 2013 onward.
The entire report may be may be ordered for US$800 at UNCTAD.org.