* Vale sees iron ore prices in range of $120-$130 in Q4
* Fortescue sees range of $110-$130 in medium term
* Brisk Chinese steel output shows no signs of abating-BHP
QINGDAO, China, Sept 25 Global iron ore prices
are expected to trade in a range just below current levels in
the fourth quarter and beyond, miners Vale and
Fortescue Metals Group said, reflecting optimism
Chinese demand will stay resilient.
Jose Carlos Martins, executive director for ferrous and
strategy at Brazil's Vale, said demand growth in China, the
world's top iron ore consumer, was likely to moderate next year,
but did not expect any big decline.
Speaking on the sidelines of an industry conference, he said
that a recovery in the United States and Europe would create a
"better environment for iron ore consumption outside of China"
predicting a range of $120-$130 a tonne in the fourth quarter.
Martins said the expansion plans of the world's biggest iron
ore miner remained intact, with Vale planning to raise annual
production capacity to 480 million tonnes by 2018 from 306
million tonnes this year.
Iron ore producers remain dependent on China, which imports
around two-thirds of global seaborne supplies, but Chinese
officials see slower growth in demand and a subsequent supply
glut to force prices into a long-term decline in coming years.
Liu Xiaoliang, secretary general of the Metallurgical Mines'
Association of China, said the increase in supplies would drive
prices down to around $100 per tonne by 2015, though that would
in turn squeeze high-cost domestic producers out of the market.
Spot iron ore prices have fallen by nearly a
third from a record near $200 a tonne in 2011, mirroring the
slowdown in China after years of double-digit economic
The price stood at $132.70 a tonne on Tuesday, not far from
the six-week low of $131.10 hit on Sept. 17.
While China has been talking down the prospects for growth
in its already bloated steel sector, foreign iron ore miners
have said that demand in China remains strong enough to justify
their huge expansion plans.
"The most recent available numbers are indicating current
annualized China production in the order of 780 million tonnes
of crude steel with no signs of abating," said Alan Chirgwin,
marketing manager for iron ore with BHP Billiton.
BHP Billiton is on track to boost its annual iron ore
production capacity to more than 200 million tonnes while bigger
rival Rio Tinto has said the increase of its production
capability to 360 million tonnes a year from an already expanded
290 million tonnes is underway.
But BHP believes that global commodities markets were being
undermined by rising supplies of raw material and warned the
outlook for steel demand in Asia was expected to moderate.
Still, BHP Chairman Jac Nasser said in the company's fiscal
2013 annual report that it had "a positive outlook over the long
term as the fundamentals of wealth creation, demographics and
urbanisation continue to create demand for commodities across
Asia and other markets."
Neville Power, the chief executive of Australia's Fortescue
Metals Group, the world's fourth-biggest iron ore
supplier, also said that Chinese demand remained resilient.
"We see continued stability in iron ore prices as steel
demand is still strong and there are not much stocks in the
supply chain, so iron ore prices should be $110-$130 (per tonne)
in the medium term," he told reporters.