Wednesday Jan 26, 2011
SHANGHAI Jan 26 (Reuters) -
Offers to sell iron ore to China remained unchanged on Wednesday as steel mills closed buying in the final week before the Lunar New Year holiday, although key indexes hovered near record highs on Tuesday.
China's iron ore market has gradually ground to a halt this week as the Feb.2-8 Lunar New Year holiday approaches, and offers of Indian ore with 63.5 percent iron content selling to China stood little changed at about $190 per tonne.
"Our steel mill customers have already stopped buying the raw materials this week; there is no market at all right now," said an iron ore trader in Shanghai.
Year-end restocking by Chinese steel mills since early January has boosted prices of imported iron ore to near $200 per tonne including freight, a level last seen in February 2008.
The Platts 62 percent iron ore index IODBZ00-PLT stood steady at $186 per tonne on Tuesday, still near the record $186.50 touched last Thursday.
The Steel Index 62 percent benchmark .IO62-CNI=SI rebounded 40 cents to $185.4 per tonne, holding close to last Friday's record $185.70 last Friday.
The Metal Bulletin Iron Ore Index .IO62-CNO=MB bucked the trend again by falling about $1 to $183.48 per tonne on Tuesday after gaining for 12 consecutive sessions. (Reporting by Ruby Lian and Manolo Serapio Jr in SINGAPORE; Editing by Chris Lewis, sourced reuters)