BHP Forecasts Iron Ore Prices Will Decline
BHP Billiton sees iron ore prices declining over the next couple of years as it and rivals Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group make plans to boost output by 2015 while demand from China tapers off.
The three miners plan to add a combined 235 million tonnes of new mine capacity by 2015, a figure almost equivalent to Rio's total output last year. Purchases from China, the largest buyer of iron ore from Australia, are expected to decline over the next few years as the economic growth rates slow, BHP's Chief Financial Officer Graham Kerr said.
“What you have seen over the last couple of years in China, I don't expect the double digit growth rates to continue,” Kerr told the Bloomberg Australia Economic Summit in Sydney. “Their moderated growth is around the 7 percent to 8 percent mark for the next couple of years, then trending down toward the 6 percent mark.”
China's economy grew 7.8 percent in 2012, its slackest pace since 1999 rate, and the latest Thomson Reuters poll puts the GDP growth rate at 8.1 percent for this year.
Iron ore sales account for around 65 percent of BHP's revenue, Kerr said, adding that a decline in prices underscored the need for Australian miners to operate from a low cost base. Production costs under $40 a tonne mean iron ore margins at BHP and Rio Tinto are comfortably above any of their other businesses. Fortescue spends around $70 a tonne to mine and freighter its ore to China.
Australian iron ore producers combined control more than half the world's sea-borne traded iron ore flow, which is nearing 1 billion tonnes a year.
China's iron ore imports grew 14.4 percent in March from the previous month, but shipments were still at their second lowest in five months amid a tepid recovery in the country's appetite for steel.
Benchmark Asian spot iron ore prices reached a 15-month high of $158.90 a tonne on Feb. 20 but have since fallen to as low as $132.90 a tonne on March 14 as steel manufacturers cut back on purchases. Prices closed on Tuesday at $139.10 a tonne.
“There is nothing wrong with the demand side, it's the supply side,” UBS analyst Tom Price told the conference, adding the bank was a “moderate bull” on iron ore over the next few years.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.