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Coal prices are roaring back amid a global energy crunch

Prices for the key steel-making ingredient iron ore, however, have been falling rapidly. China, by far the world’s biggest consumer of the commodity, has been seeking to cut steel mills’ output and tackle carbon emissions for the third straight month.

After hitting a record $US230 a tonne in May, iron ore has had its value slashed in half and is now trading below $US110 a tonne, hammering the share prices of the mining giants BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue.

UBS analyst Myles Allsop said Chinese steel production had weakened since July as Beijing put pressure on provinces to materially cut energy consumption and intensity to meet targeted emissions cuts of 3 per cent year-on-year. Problems plaguing top Chinese property developer Evergrande had also triggered a slowdown in construction reducing steel demand, he said.

Australia’s iron ore exports reached a record $153 billion in 2021 on the back of an aggressive infrastructure building blitz in China and weaker iron ore output from mines in Brazil, but is forecast to fall by as much as 35 per cent by 2022-23.

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