• Iron ore miners lift materials sector to 1.42% gain
  • In a reverse Catch 22 for BHP, Rio Tinto and FMG, there are expectations iron ore prices could lift if supplies out of the Pilbara are restricted by Tropical Cyclone Ilsa
  • Liontown rises to $2.72, now well above Albemarle’s $2.50 offer price


Expectations of disruptions to WA’s mammoth iron ore export industry have seen the materials index surge, with Port Hedland’s berths to be cleared as Tropical Cyclone Ilsa approaches the North West coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology expects the cyclone, last recorded of the WA coast as a category 2 system 530km north-north-east of Port Hedland at 8am this morning, to reach a category 4 before hitting land late tomorrow.

Dalian iron ore futures rose 0.44% today, though Singapore prices trended downwards after a big gain on Tuesday.

The impact of wet weather is expected to restrict iron ore exports from producers like BHP (ASX:BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG).

“Tropical Cyclone Ilsa is expected to intensify into a severe tropical cyclone in the next few hours as it continues to move southwest towards the Pilbara coast, making a coastal crossing between Port Hedland and Broome on late Thursday or early Friday,” the Pilbara Ports Authority told media and port users around 11.10am WA time this morning.

“Pilbara Ports Authority will have all berths cleared from the Port of Port Hedland inner harbour by 1:00pm today. All vessels are to be cleared of port limits by 6:00pm today. All port anchorages within the Port of Port Hedland boundary have been cleared.

“From 8:00am tomorrow (13 April 2023) all movements of harbour support vessels within the port will need to be approved by the Port of Port Hedland Harbour Master.”

How close it comes remains to be seen.

Rio finished the trading day 2.71% higher, with BHP up 1.87% and FMG up 1.62%. Iron ore stocks were also lifted on faster than expected credit growth in China where aggregate financing of 5.4 trillian Yuan (US$784b) beat expectations according to Bloomberg.

Gold and battery metals stocks were also in the good books of investors, with the materials sector lifting 1.42%.

Meanwhile, punters are betting the goddamn house on a higher bid coming in for Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), which rose 3.82% to $2.72 two weeks after the Tim Goyder chaired company knocked back a $5 billion plus, $2.50 per share cash offer from US lithium giant Albemarle.

It ~500,000tpa, $895 million Kathleen Valley lithium mine, due to open in mid-2024, is one of the few major projects headed for production in the coming years.


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