* Prices could rise $10-$15 near term on India move-trader
* India quadruples export tax on iron ore fines
(Updates Shanghai rebar price, adds China steel output)
By Manolo Serapio Jr
India, the world's third-largest iron ore exporter, on Monday said it will quadruple export duties on iron ore fines to 20 percent as it seeks to curb exports, mostly destined for China.
The move which should further tighten global supply of the steelmaking ingredient and is likely to fuel another rally in iron ore prices, which have declined since hitting record highs in mid-February.
Indian ore with 63.5 percent iron content was quoted at around $188 a tonne, including freight, in China on Tuesday, said Chinese consultancy Mysteel.
"I think the increase in iron ore tax would have an impact on prices but it will take at least a couple of days for that to sink in," said a Shanghai-based iron ore trader who sells Indian cargoes to China.
"People would prefer to wait and watch. Prices had been coming down before the tax was announced, so they would stabilise first then there might be a slight increase," he said, adding he expects the Indian 63.5 percent grade to hit $190 within the week.
China's appetite for iron ore thinned last week as steel prices retreated after hitting a series of record highs last month, reflecting worries that Chinese steel demand might not pick up strongly because of the government's campaign to tighten monetary policy.
China's crude steel output rose 6 percent in the first 20 days of February from January, but stockpiles of steel products at major enterprises rose to 9.46 million tonnes from 7.57 million tonnes at the end of January, data from the China Iron and Steel Association showed.
"I think there is a stalemate between the buyers and sellers right now and for us buyers we totally depend on the steel price in China," said a trader in China's eastern Shandong province.
"If the steel price would increase then we could accept any offers but I'm not sure the market is ready to accept ore at $200 because the end-user cannot accept the higher cost."
The most active steel rebar contract for October delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell to a two-month low of 4,816 yuan a tonne on Tuesday. It closed at 4,837 yuan, down 1.3 percent.
Huge stockpiles of imported ore at Chinese ports, which exceeded 80 million tonnes last week, are also deterring Chinese steel mills and traders from snapping up Indian material in the spot market.
"As long as you have a lot of stock available at ports which is typically cheaper than new imports, people would prefer to consume that first," said the Shanghai trader.
Still, Indian spot prices could rise by $10 to $15 a tonne in the near term because of the duty hike, said the Shandong-based trader.
Forward swaps rose on Monday as investors looked to more price rises. The Singapore Exchange-cleared March contract gained 0.7 percent to $176.67 a tonne, April rose nearly 2 percent to $167.17 and May jumped 2.3 percent to $163.92.
All three key iron ore indexes, which global miners use in determining quarterly contract prices, fell.
Platts iron ore benchmark IODBZ00-PLT slipped 50 cents to $183 a tonne, its weakest since Jan. 17 and marking its eighth consecutive session of losses.
Metal Bulletin's 62 percent index .IO62-CNO=MB dropped $1.36 to $180.5 a tonne, and The Steel Index's 62 percent gauge .IO62-CNI=SI slid $1.30 to 182.8, their lowest since mid-January.
Global miners like Vale and Rio Tinto are likely to raise second-quarter iron ore contract prices by 20 percent to an all-time high after spot prices hit a record peak this month, Reuters calculations showed on Monday.(Editing by David Fogarty,sourced Thomson Reuters)
Tags :Tags :raw material, Indian fine iron ore prices,CISA,iron ore traders, Platts, Metal Bulletin