Miners press for higher prices on iron ore, coal

The WSJ is hearing that the world’s biggest iron ore and coal miners are pushing for big price increases:

The world’s largest miners are pushing for increases of 10% to 25% over this year’s contract prices for iron ore and coal, people familiar with the nascent negotiations said, which would raise costs for the steel used in cars, construction, appliances and other goods.

China, which consumes about 65% of the world’s seaborne iron ore, is trying to use its size to push for lower or flat prices on iron ore and coal—two chief ingredients in steel.

But the people familiar with the talks among steelmakers and miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Brazil’s Vale SA said steel demand is rebounding and iron-ore supplies are tightening, setting the stage for a near-certain price increase.

By the time both sides settle, probably in April, steelmakers could pay $70-$75 a metric ton for iron ore. Steelmakers have been paying about $65 a metric ton this year.

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