Prices of iron ore delivered to China topped US$90 per ton for the first time this year, Bloomberg reported, citing the trade journal Metal Bulletin. The price for 63.5%-grade material climbed 4.6% to US$91 per ton for the week ending July 17, the highest since Oct 10 2008. Iron ore imports in China jumped 29% during the first half of 2009 due to rising demand created by Beijing’s US$586 billion stimulus package. Iron ore imports in June were 55.3 million tons, the second highest level seen since April’s record of 57 million tons in imports. Beijing is currently buying its iron ore on the global spot market because of a breakdown in the contract talks between foreign iron ore miners and Chinese steel makers. Four executives from miner Rio Tinto have also been detained on accusations of bribing Chinese steel makers in order to gain information about Beijing’s iron ore strategy. Analysts said this will cause the Chinese iron ore market to operate on shorter contracts with increasing amounts of ore being purchased on the spot market.
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