Mining giant Cia. Vale do Rio Doce of Brazil and China's Shanghai Baosteel Group have agreed on a 9.5% hike in the price of iron ore, setting what may be the global benchmark for 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported. The price is higher than what many observers had expected – although smaller than in recent years. Baosteel, like it did in setting the 2006 prices, acted as lead negotiator for the entire Chinese steel industry. China expects to import about 354 metric tons of iron ore in 2007 at an average price of US$44.47 per ton starting in May, up from US$40.61 this year. The higher price is likely to put extra pressure on steel makers who have seen the price of steel slide in most markets.