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RBC Capital cuts price forecast for Jul-Sep iron ore fines on lower China demand

Sydney — Iron ore prices are expected to fall in the coming months on the back of a slowdown in Chinese steel demand, RBC Capital Markets mining analyst Paul Hissey said in a report issued Wednesday. RBC has downgraded its forecast for spot 62%-Fe fines to $50/dry mt CFR China for July-September from $60/dmt, and to $47.50/dmt from $70/dmt for the October-December quarter, which compares to an average of $74.09/dmt and $65.34/dmt in the first two quarters of 2018, respectively, he said.

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"Whilst steel production and profitability remained strong through H1, we are cautious around a near-term slowdown in Chinese steel demand and the impact on iron ore prices," he said.

A slowdown in infrastructure and property demand and continued volatility around tariffs as well as expectation of continued winter curbs could soften the near-term outlook for iron ore, he said.

"Despite this, we remain constructive on the longer-term fundamentals for the commodity," he added.

The forecast for January-March next year was dropped from $70/dmt to $57/dmt, while that for April-June was left unchanged at $70/dmt by RBC. For the July-September and October-December quarters, the forecast was cut by $5 and $10 to $65/dmt and $60/dmt, respectively. The forecast for 2020, 2021 and 2022 was left unchanged at $70/dmt.

--Nathan Richardson, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by E Shailaja Nair, shailaja.nair@spglobal.com