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Chinese steelmakers demand more iron ore

Shanghai: Unrelenting demand for iron ore at Chinese steel mills should underpin the Capesize sector in the months ahead, with imports expected to rise by as much as 15% in 2007, up from last year's 325m tonnes. The 2006 tally was already some 18% up on 2005 and could reach 380m tonnes this year, according to industry sources. The news comes as China's largest steel maker, Baosteel, has agreed a 9.5% price hike with principal suppliers BHP Billiton, CVRD and Rio Tinto. The Chinese forecasts will provide some relief to Capesize bulk carrier owners who face commissioning record volumes of new ships in the months ahead. According to Clarkson, there are more than 180 Capesize units on order and brokers estimate that, on average, one new Capesize vessel will be commissioned every week this year.  [08/01/07]

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