From FN Arena News,
By Rudi Filapek-Vandyck

The
longest annual negotiations in history between major producers and
suppliers of iron ore and (some of) their customers have finally come to
an end. As had already become clear over the
past few weeks, the negotiations have concluded with a clear
victory for Brazil’s Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) and
Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Billiton (BHP).

BHP
Billiton posted the news on its website overnight, stating it had
reached agreement with “a number of its Chinese steel customers” on
prices for contracted iron ore tonnage for the 2006 contract year.

According to the short statement, prices
increased by 19% over prices negotiated in respect of the 2005 year
across the range of lump and fines iron ore products supplied by BHP
Billiton.

While the statement still
leaves plenty of room for speculation whether all of China’s steel
mills have now accepted defeat or not, it would seem this year’s iron
ore saga is close to being put to bed, finally.

Peter Fray

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