Wednesday, May 17, 2006

LME and Platts to develop steel contracts?

Also saw this in an article in the May 17th Financial Times print edition. Word is that LME has appointed Platts to develop reference prices for the development of a possible steel contract. Here's an excerpt from that article:

Meanwhile, LME has appointed Platts, the energy and commodity information provider, to develop reference prices for a possible steel futures contract. The LME hopes that a new steel reference price will be established by the end of the year. If it is adopted by the industry, the LME would look to launch a steel futures contract some time next year.

Steel, which is a $500bn a year industry, is the largest commodity market still dominated by producer pricing, but has no successful futures contract.

With recent news of iron ore price hikes, which China is now balking at, I wonder if a contract for ore is possible as well or is it too tied up by those three main suppliers (CVRD, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton)? Here's a couple of links I found on the subject for anyone interested in that question. One piece from China Economic Net late last year and a bit from one of CVRD's old SEC filings (from 2003). It said:

Because of the wide variety of iron ore and pellet quality and physical characteristics,iron ore and pellets are less commodity-like than other minerals. This factorcombined with the structure of the market has prevented the development of an iron ore futures market.