MB Iron Ore Index Methodology

The index is based on actual transactions, which are reported to Metal Bulletin by any market participant who is conducting trades on a CFR China spot basis. Metal Bulletin is totally impartial, and seeks to report an open and transparent representation of the market. Metal Bulletin will also work with Steelhome, the leading independent Chinese steel consultancy and data provider, to maximize the robustness of the Index. Steelhome will supply daily data from its widespread contact base of steel producers and iron ore traders within China. This will be integrated into the Metal Bulletin Index methodology in the normal way.

Neither Metal Bulletin nor Steelhome has any financial interest in the level or direction of the index.

The details below are the base target specification. Material that differs from the base specification but falls within the target range is normalised to the base specification and port. The base specification has been chosen to accurately reflect the reality of the physical market. The normalisation coefficients have been developed using Metal Bulletin’s extensive historical data and history of reporting prices in this market, are updated every three months to reflect the value-in-use of different products and grades, and are country specific where sufficient market liquidity allows.

Three sub-indices are created, based on data received from producers, traders and consumers. The sub-indices are based on a tonnage weighted calculation of actual transactions normalised for iron content and freight. The final index is the non-weighted average of the three sub-indices. Only the final index is published.

Metal Bulletin will seek to utilise at least 12 trades, 4 for each sub-index, as a minimum to calculate the index. In the unlikely event that this is not achievable, assessments from market participants will be included in the index calculation via a defined methodology. If less than four trades are reported for a sub-index, a minimum of four assessments will be averaged to create an assessment price. This will be combined at the rate of 25% with three transactions, 50% with two transactions, 75% with one transaction, and 100% with no transactions.

All data points that fall greater than 4% away from the calculated index are excluded, and the index recalculated once. Outliers will be investigated, and attempts to influence the index unfairly will result in the data provider being warned or excluded. Data is submitted in a secure manner by phone, email, or directly through the website. All correspondence will be stored.

The normalisation coefficients will be updated four times a year, and the new coefficients will be based on data collected over the previous 3 months. The Index will continue to be published on UK holidays, but will remain flat during national public holiday in China, due to the lack of transaction data points. In the event of technical difficulties or other unforeseen problems, the index will be published from our Singapore office or Shanghai office, as appropriate.

Material in the form of pellets and lumps is excluded. Domestic Chinese material, and material imported by routes other than by sea, for example by train or truck, is also excluded, as is material that has already been delivered and is held on stockpile at the dock.

US$ per dry metric tonne, CFR China

Fe Content
Base 62%, Range 56% to 68%

Silica Base
3.5%, Maximum 6.0%

Base 2.0%, Maximum 4.0%

Combined Silica / Alumina
Maximum 8.0%

Base 0.05%, Maximum 0.10%

Base 0.02%, Maximum 0.05%

Loss on Ignition (%DW)
Base 4.7%, Maximum 9.8%

Base 8.0%, Maximum 10.0%

Base Size >90% < 6.3mm, Maximum Size >90% <10.0mm, Minimum Size <10% <0.15mm

Trade Size
Minimum 30,000 tonnes, Maximum 350,000 tonnes

Delivery Port
Base Qingdao-Rizhao-Lianyungang, normalized for any Chinese mainland sea port

Delivery period
Within 8 weeks

Daily at midday London time

Click here to download the methodology as a PDF.