SINGAPORE, April 13 (Reuters) - Iron ore will fall to $36 a tonne in the third quarter and stay below $40 for the rest of the year as big miners boost supply even further and China's demand declines, Citigroup said on Monday.
Spot iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI has lost 60 percent over the past 12 months, dropping below $50 a tonne this month for the first time since a key index pricing began in 2008, amid a glut as mega miners Vale, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton expanded production.
"We forecast incremental export production growth of over 110 million tonnes in 2015 of which 68 million tonnes alone should come from Rio Tinto," Citigroup said in its second-quarter commodities outlook.
"New Chinese mines are still coming online as well, with over 60 million tonnes in the pipeline."
Iron ore will drop to $36 a tonne in the third quarter from a projected $44 in April-June and should stand at $38 in the last quarter of the year, Citigroup said.
For the year, the steelmaking commodity will average at $45 a tonne, less than half of the 2014 average of $97, the bank said. It sees iron ore at $40 next year, $39 in 2017 and $40 in 2018.
"Iron ore demand in China is declining with steel production down year-on-year and domestic demand even worse," it said.
"Prices need to fall significantly below cash costs for a prolonged period to induce curtailments. Supply should become increasingly resilient as it becomes concentrated in large and integrated producers."
Iron ore prices for future delivery have slid 30 percent in the space of a month, and the outlook for the commodity is now more bearish than oil and more dire than ever for miners struggling to just stay in business.
Australian miner Atlas Iron Ltd became the latest casualty in a strategy by bigger iron ore producers to flood the market, saying on Friday that it will progressively suspend mining this month due to low prices. (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)