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China steel makers striving for unified price

China's steel industry association said on Friday that it plans this year to unify the spot and long-contract prices for the country's iron ore imports.

It will also set a ceiling for charges levied by import trading firms, as part of an effort to regulate the market.

The proposal was the top item of discussion at the steel industry body's two-day semiannual meeting, said Luo Bingsheng, deputy chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), at a press conference.

The term prices negotiated with global miners should become a benchmark unified price, and the import agencies could charge 3-5 percent in commission on top of the term prices, Luo said.

The move aims to regulate excess iron ore import by steel makers and trading firms, which distorted the supply and demand balance and disrupted the annual contract talks, Luo said.

The price talks, which are continuing, appeared to be snagged on China's insistence upon bigger reductions than the 33 percent cut agreed to earlier with Japanese and Korean steel mills. News reports and industry analysts say China wants a 40 percent price cut.

Luo said foreign iron ore suppliers promoted massive sales on the spot market, leading to huge stockpiles.

Spot iron ore accounted for 82.7 percent of imports this year, leading to excessive imports that far exceed actual needs, the CISA said.

Luo made the remark as the spot price of iron ore in China surged above the contract prices offered by three large miners - Rio, BHP and Vale.

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 Source : Xinhua  Editor: Ivy
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