COLUMN-Iron ore reality check shows small, but significant change: Russell
--Clyde Russell is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own.--
By Clyde Russell
LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 4 (Reuters) - It's time for a reality check all round in the iron ore market.
In recent weeks there has been a strong rally in prices, tentative signs that the headlong expansion of capacity will be reined in, calls for a producer cartel of some sorts and a small miner scrappily hanging on in the face of seemingly overwhelming adversity.
All of this makes for great drama and news headlines, but also should lead to questions and analysis as to whether anything has actually changed in the iron ore market.
The first reality check is that despite the near 27 percent rally in the spot Asian iron ore price .IO62-CNI=SI between April 6 and April 27, the price remains extremely weak.
Iron ore ended last week at $56.20 a tonne, having retreated from the $59.20 reached on April 27, leaving the steel-making ingredient down 21 percent so far this year.
It's also roughly half of what it was this time last year and not much better than a quarter of the record $191.90 a tonne in February 2011. Continuación...