October 11, 2019 / 9:58 AM / 2 months ago

CORRECTED (OFFICIAL)-Rio Tinto signs its first Renminbi portside trading contract

(Corrects 4th paragraph to change trading year to 2017 from 2016)

By Min Zhang and Shivani Singh

BEIJING, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto, one of the world’s top iron ore miners, signed its first spot trading contract denominated in Chinese Renminbi on Friday, in an effort to diversify procurement channels for Chinese customers.

The Anglo-Australian mining giant held a signing ceremony at Rizhao Port in China’s eastern province of Shandong, offering 10,000 tonnes of mid-grade iron ore SP10 to Shanxi Gaoyi Steel Co Ltd, said Zhang Qi, director of foreign ore at the Shanxi firm.

“We believe port sales could potentially help us to better serve our existing customers, as well as potentially opening up an opportunity to sell to new customers who do not participate in the seaborne market,” a Rio Tinto representative was quoted as saying.

Portside sales of Rio Tinto’s products at Chinese ports are currently sold via traders. Brazilian mining giant Vale SA started regular yuan-denominated spot trading in 2017.

China imported 684.9 million tonnes of the steelmaking raw material in the first eight months of 2019. The weak Chinese currency is increasing the cost of seaborne iron ore.

The portside trading channel is only aiming to promote Rio Tinto’s niche products for now, the representative said. (Reporting by Min Zhang and Shivani Singh; editing by David Evans)

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