Positivity around iron ore and other commodities that has driven the materials index to a 1.92% gain this week cooled this morning as iron ore futures dived.

On a weak morning for trade in the big miners and across the ASX, 2021 success stories Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) and West African Resources (ASX:WAF) were among the few to prosper.

Liontown has recovered from a selldown following the release of its Kathleen Valley definitive feasibility study earlier this month.

A 14% charge over the past week has taken the lithium developer back to all time highs of $1.94 this morning, a market cap of around $3.6 billion.

The Tim Goyder-chaired company released an ESG report this week featuring this chart based off Roskill data, which says a lot about why lithium investors are frothing at the mouth right now.

Liontown lithium supply demand schtick
Pic: Liontown Resources

West African Resources has defied negativity around the gold space in 2021 to rise ~22% to a market cap of $1.3 billion, on the back of strong performance in the first year at its Sanbrado mine in Burkina Faso.


Liontown and West African share prices today:



Iron ore prices cool, dropping big miners

It’s been a week dominated by China’s apparent thawing of its frosty fiscal policy, leading to expectation steel demand would grow.

That turned this morning as Dalian iron ore future sunk by more than 5% on negative news about the impact of power issues in China and reports pollution levels would see the key steelmaking hub of Tangshan renew factory restrictions.

Equally bearish was the mid-November steel survey from the China Iron and Steel Association, which showed China’s steel mills produced at a rate of just 2.24Mt per day between November 11 and November 20, MySteel reported.

A drop of 1.5% on earlier in the month, that would place China well to meet its ambitions of keeping 2021 steel production numbers at or beneath 2020’s record of 1.065Bt.

It remains to be seen what restrictions China will keep in place after the Beijing Winter Olympics take place early next year.

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG), which has added ~$10 billion to its market cap over the past month, was down 3.13% while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), BHP (ASX:BHP), Champion Iron (ASX:CIA) and MinRes (ASX:MIN) all ate significant losses at the Materials index fell almost 1.5%.


Iron ore miners share prices today: