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Decline in Iron Ore Prices Leads to Downward Trend among Iron Ore Miners

Iron ore miners have been trending downwards in recent weeks on concerns of a further decline in iron ore prices. Goldman Sachs has recently lowered its forecast for iron ore prices due to slowing steel production in China.

The firm predicts iron ore prices may average $139 a ton in 2013, down from their previous estimate of $144. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Iron Ore Industry and provides equity research on ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT) and Vale SA (NYSE: VALE).

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China's steel production and iron ore consumption has commonly experienced double-digit growth rates over the past decade but may have finally reached a plateau. The National Development and Reform Commission forecasts steel output may only rise 4 percent year-over-year to 746 million metric tons in 2013, while iron ore consumption is expected to grow by 4.8 percent, or 50 million tons in 2013.

"Though industry sources say the [global] economy in 2013 will be better than last year and steel demand will certainly grow, downstream demand is only recovering very mildly," the commission said.

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ArcelorMittal is among the five largest producers of iron ore and metallurgical coal, or coking coal, and their mining business is an increasingly essential part of their growth strategy. The company's goal is to produce 100 million tons of iron ore by 2015. Shares of ArcelorMittal have fallen approximately 25 percent year-to-date.

Vale is the world's biggest producer of iron ore and pellets, raw materials essential to the manufacture of steel. On average, the rocks found in Vale's Carajás operation contain 67% iron ore (the highest level on the planet). The company's shipments of iron ore and pellets reached an all-time high of 303.4 million metric tons in 2012.


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