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China looks for alternatives as India falters in iron ore trade

In view of the iron ore trade deficit from India, due to prevailing crisis, China has began looking out for alternative markets to meet its requirements, a senior official said today.

"India's Iron Ore supply is not very stable. Who can tell what the policy about the Iron Ore is? Chinese companies are looking for alternatives," Shi Ming Li, Assistant Chief Representative, China Minmetals Corporation, told PTI today.

Last fiscal, China imported 15 per cent of its Iron Ore from India especially Goa, which is less compared to earlier imports.

"India should have stable and transparent mining policy which is important for miners," Ming Li, representative of the state controlled Corporation said.

He was in Goa to participate in the International Iron Ore and Steel Making Raw Materials Conference. He said that China already has alternatives which can be explored to face the deficit.

"Its a turning point for international Iron Ore market," Ming Li claimed, adding Brazil and Australia has lot of capacities which can be looked up to meet the requirement.

China, which has been sourcing the Iron ore from Australia, Brazil and South America besides India is also looking at countries like South Africa, Iran, Ukraine, Congo, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Venezuela for the steady supply of the Iron Ore.

Ming Li said China hopes that exports won't be banned from India. "But it is for the Indian government to decide their own policies," he said.

China does not have long term agreements with India, which usually opts for spot pricing.

Indian traders too concede the fact that the future is uncertain for the Indian Iron ore market in China.

"Indian iron ore exports' future is uncertain. We don't know what will happen tomorrow," said Prem Kumar spokesperson, Pisces Exim Private Limited, India's leading Iron ore exporter.

He said that India too have began scouting for alternate buyer countries, not entirely depending on demand from China.

Kumar's company traded three million tons of Iron ore to China during last fiscal, which means a business of 100 million US dollars.

"Since we are dealing in the low grade ore, we are also looking at Middle East countries which requires this raw material for cement industry," Kumar commented.

Pisces Exim has already started sending shipments to Middle-East countries since last year.

The prevailing uncertainties seem to have forced many of the traders to hold back their plans.

"We wanted to venture in the trading of Iron ore from India to China but plans are held back because of the existing scenario," said Rahul Mulye, representing Coeclerici Asia (Pte) Limited, a Singapore-headquartered trading firm.

Coeclerici Asia (Ptd) Limited is currently trading in iron ore from other countries to China.



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