Japan's leading steelmakers are waiting for China, the world's leading importer of iron ore, to set a benchmark price before negotiating raw material contracts with Brazilian and Australian suppliers, the Financial Times reported. The unprecedented move comes after Nippon Steel, Asia's leading steelmaker, agreed a 71.5% price increase for iron ore from Brazil's CVRD last year and reflects China's new clout as the world's biggest buyer of raw materials. Melinda Moore, chief representative in China for trade journal Steel Business Briefing said the Chinese think they should lead negotiations in part because the Japanese agreed to such a big price rise last year. Chinese authorities have warned steel mills not to sign separate agreements with iron ore miners, saying they will lose their ore import licences if they break ranks with the rest of the industry.
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