Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton has managed to secure a 99.7 per cent price hike for iron ore from a number of its Asian customers for the April-June 2010 period, up from the $60-a-tonne price settled through the annual contract system for 2009-10.
Citing sources from the Japanese steel industry, the London-based commodities team of Macquarie Bank today said BHP Billiton has secured 99.7 per cent rise over 2009 prices or $120.08 a tonne for Pilbara fines iron ore.
The 99.7 per cent price hike that the Melbourne-based BHP Billiton has secured from Asian steelmakers is 9.7 per cent more than the 90 per cent hike that Vale of Brazil secured from Japanese steel mills last week. (See: BHP, Vale wrangle quarterly iron ore deal with Japan, Vale gets 90-per cent hike)
The landed price for BHP's iron ore to Japan would be approximately $131.50 per tonne after taking freight charges into account, which is still 22 per cent below the current spot market price, the bank said.
BHP Billiton, the world's third-largest iron ore miner behind Vale and Rio Tinto, had said late last month that it had reached agreement with a significant number of customers throughout Asia to move existing iron ore contracts that were previously priced annually onto a shorter term landed price equivalent basis.
The miner also said that the agreements reached were for a majority of its iron ore sales volume although it did not reveal the price of the settlements.
Both BHP Billiton and Vale have, however, made a breakthrough in trashing the old annual iron ore benchmark system by getting the Japanese steel mills to agree to a quarterly system.
This is an important breakthrough for the miners, especially for BHP Billiton, which has been clamouring for junking the annual iron ore contract system.
Last year, the three miners had negotiated iron ore prices with Japanese and Korean steelmakers under the benchmark system at $60 a tonne, even when spot prices had been prevailing between $100-130 a tonne since November, after having plunged below the benchmark rates.
Last year, China did not conclude the benchmark prices with the big three ore miners, since it was seeking a 40-per cent reduction in prices, while the miners were not willing to yield to more than 30 per cent.