Early last week, Chinese premier Li Keqiang said China needed to take more steps to curb “unreasonable” price increases for bulk commodities, right after we wrote this:

Lol. Hubris.

…which aged badly. Iron ore prices have fallen below $US200/t since.

On Sunday, China’s main economic planning body the NDRC and four other regulators met with domestic steel, iron ore, copper and aluminium companies for a serious convo.

“[This] meeting pointed out that this round of price rises is the result of a combination of many factors, including malicious speculation, urging companies to take the lead in maintaining pricing order in commodity markets, not to collude with each other to manipulate market prices and not to fabricate and spread false information about price increases,” Argus says.

“Relevant regulatory authorities will closely track and monitor the trend of commodity prices, strengthen linkage supervision on commodity futures and spot markets and have zero tolerance for illegal activity, the meeting said.”

How exactly will prices be kept to a ‘reasonable’ level, you ask? What is a reasonable level? Will prices ever go over $US200/t again?

We don’t know, yet, but fear, uncertainty and doubt have certainly stifled market sentiment.

The Argus ICX 62% index has now dropped ~18.7% from a record high of $US235.55/t hit on 12 May.

“Mills’ demand is gradually shifting to medium and low-grade ores amid the squeezed margins, coupled with market uncertainty,” a Shandong trader told Argus.

“Most participants were on the sidelines, waiting for a clearer direction,” a Hebei trader also said.

Well played, Li Keqiang.

For obvious reasons it was generally a pretty bad week for iron ore stocks, but — in the context of some mammoth share price gains made over the past year — there’s really nothing to worry about yet.

Ion ore prices are still up ~15% year to date.

Here’s how ASX-listed iron ore stocks are performing:

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort. Best viewed on a laptop

CODE COMPANY 1 WEEK CHANGE % 1 MONTH CHANGE % 6 MONTH CHANGE % 1 YEAR CHANGE % PRICE MARKET CAP
ACS Accent Resources NL 32 56 400 900 0.05 $ 23,301,364.15
BCK Brockman Mining 9 -26 85 92 0.05 $ 445,403,142.29
CZR CZR Resources 7 25 7 50 0.015 $ 41,368,773.96
DRE Dreadnought Resources 6 42 6 410 0.0255 $ 61,707,294.03
MAG Magmatic Resrce 5 18 14 -41 0.195 $ 44,963,856.84
TI1 Tombador Iron 5 44 128 399 0.105 $ 100,641,506.50
HAW Hawthorn Resources 4 -14 -53 -57 0.049 $ 15,675,233.81
SRN Surefire Rescs NL 4 0 -19 733 0.025 $ 26,331,849.84
MGT Magnetite Mines 3 3 550 3442 0.065 $ 206,737,285.80
HAV Havilah Resources 2 31 57 175 0.275 $ 84,991,930.77
EFE Eastern Iron 0 7 18 195 0.011 $ 8,942,781.17
SHH Shree Minerals 0 -12 36 275 0.015 $ 15,153,553.38
RHI Red Hill Iron 0 83 352 579 0.95 $ 53,890,334.10
LCY Legacy Iron Ore 0 -17 114 650 0.015 $ 96,071,077.76
ADY Admiralty Resources. 0 -14 27 46 0.019 $ 22,023,559.28
GRR Grange Resources. -2 -15 86 109 0.5 $ 584,456,042.49
MIN Mineral Resources. -2 -5 38 131 43.71 $ 8,206,240,497.36
IRD Iron Road -3 -19 34 337 0.195 $ 155,701,230.55
GEN Genmin -3 6 0.28 $ 78,211,776.44
RIO Rio Tinto Limited -4 0 17 33 121.07 $ 44,360,337,573.00
MGU Magnum Mining & Exp -5 -13 228 425 0.16 $ 73,486,349.87
BHP BHP Group Limited -5 -1 23 38 47.29 $ 138,072,054,836.78
FMG Fortescue Metals Grp -6 1 20 60 21.8 $ 65,797,480,297.66
AKO Akora Resources -7 -5 0.28 $ 14,599,296.00
CIA Champion Iron -7 -2 42 167 6.68 $ 3,407,507,783.72
MIO Macarthur Minerals -9 -13 -13 121 0.42 $ 60,356,578.05
MGX Mount Gibson Iron -9 -3 12 29 0.87 $ 1,037,677,530.75
TLM Talisman Mining -12 52 83 129 0.22 $ 41,991,386.63
FEX Fenix Resources -13 -8 93 314 0.29 $ 140,089,176.00
FMS Flinders Mines -14 -27 8 73 0.87 $ 146,898,261.99
GWR GWR Group -15 -16 55 270 0.255 $ 80,238,407.40
SRK Strike Resources -15 -2 83 315 0.22 $ 55,605,210.30
VMS Venture Minerals -16 37 137 506 0.097 $ 132,417,928.30
RLC Reedy Lagoon Corp. -16 -27 23 300 0.016 $ 7,520,418.66
JNO Juno -18 0.18 $ 24,418,440.18
MDX Mindax Limited -23 2100 2100 2100 0.066 $ 120,930,562.93
CAP Carpentaria Resource -34 139 184 357 0.105 $ 47,574,064.50