Sydney: BHP Billiton, the world’s third-largest iron ore miner, has agreed with some customers, including some in China, to match the benchmark 33% price cut in annual iron ore prices, but has yet to settle on either pricing or contract terms for nearly half of its exports.
Chinese steel mills had been holding out for a deeper cut of at least 40%, arguing that it was a matter of survival for them, but their rivals in Japan and South Korea undermined that stance by recently settling for a cut of 33%.
BHP Billiton, giving an update on its pricing talks for the current fiscal year, declined to say which of its customers had been party to the 33-44% cut for contracted shipments of ore fines and lumps, but industry sources in China have confirmed that some major Chinese steel-makers had done so.
BHP, which has actively promoted a shift toward more market based pricing for iron ore, said that it has agreed to the lower annual price for 23% of the group’s total sales volumes, while it had agreed to sell 30 percent of its ore on the basis of quarterly negotiations, spot market prices or indices.
“Negotiations for the remaining 47% of iron ore volumes are ongoing,” the company said in a one-page statement.
BHP Billiton shares pared lossed after the news, standing down 1.5% at A$37.46.