China's steelmakers ended months of speculation by agreeing on a 19% increase in the price of ore with the mining companies. BHP Billiton is so far the only one to confirm a deal with but state media said confirmation of agreements with CVRD and Rio Tinto would follow shortly. The three companies control 75% of the global iron ore supply but Beijing thought it could use its clout as the world's largest consumer of the commodity to restrict the price rise, following a massive increase of 71.5% last year. To this end, domestic steelmaker Baosteel was allowed to take the lead in negotiations instead of the Japanese and European buyers. But a long stand-off in negotiations saw the other steelmakers capitulate to the mining companiesï¿½ demands and in the end China was forced to follow suit and agree to a 19% increase.
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