Asian steel companies undermined China's negotiating position by accepting a 19% price hike in iron ore, Beijing said Monday. Throughout the last week, steelmakers in Asia made iron ore deals that include a 19% price hike while China, the world's largest iron ore purchaser, held out for a better deal. Iron ore prices are set annually and purchased through contracts. China said the flurry of agreements capped May 22 by a deal between South Korea's Posco and Anglo-Australian ore supplier Rio Tinto undercut a tacit agreement to hold out for a deal and lower price rises for next year. European and Japanese steel makers have also agreed to the price hike, leading to speculation that China will end up paying the same price.