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Chinese resource security policies and the restructuring of the Asia-Pacific iron ore market


  • Wilson, Jeffrey D.


This paper reviews the restructuring of the Asia-Pacific iron ore market in the wake of the rise of the Chinese steel industry. Prior to the 2000s, this market was characterised by two key features—high firm-level concentration on both the producer and consumer sides, and price determination through annually negotiated benchmark pricing between Australian mining and Japanese steel firms. However, owing to rapid growth in the Chinese steel industry and its emergence as the region's principal iron ore consumer, the Asia-Pacific iron ore market has been dramatically restructured during the last decade. This process has been accelerated since 2005 by Chinese governmental resource security policies, which have sought to address current record high iron ore prices through the use of foreign investment to sponsor new market entrants and the formation of an import cartel amongst the Chinese steel firms. This paper evaluates how these policies have driven restructuring in the Asia-Pacific iron ore market, through an analysis of the growth of China's steel industry, Chinese resource security policies aimed at lowering iron ore import costs, and their effects upon the regional market's ownership structure and price determination mechanisms. It argues that while Chinese investment and cartelisation policies have catalysed significant changes to the ownership and pricing structures of the Asia-Pacific iron ore market, they have carried only mixed benefits for the Chinese steel industry's resource security.

Suggested Citation

  • Wilson, Jeffrey D., 2012. "Chinese resource security policies and the restructuring of the Asia-Pacific iron ore market," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 331-339.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:3:p:331-339
    DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2012.03.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Theodore H. Moran, 2010. "China's Strategy to Secure Natural Resources: Risks, Dangers, and Opportunities," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa92.
    2. Rogers, Christopher D. & Robertson, Kirsty & Robertson, Kirsty, 1987. "Long term contracts and market stability : The case of iron ore," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 3-18, March.
    3. Pei Sun, 2007. "Is the state-led industrial restructuring effective in transition China? Evidence from the steel sector," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(4), pages 601-624, July.
    4. Sukagawa, Paul, 2010. "Is iron ore priced as a commodity? Past and current practice," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 54-63, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:340-346 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Germeshausen, Robert & Panke, Timo & Wetzel, Heike, 2014. "Investigating the influence of firm characteristics on the ability to exercise market power: A stochastic frontier analysis approach with an application to the iron ore market," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-105, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Pustov, Alexander & Malanichev, Alexander & Khobotilov, Ilya, 2013. "Long-term iron ore price modeling: Marginal costs vs. incentive price," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 558-567.
    4. Chen, Wenhui & Lei, Yalin & Jiang, Yong, 2016. "Influencing factors analysis of China’s iron import price: Based on quantile regression model," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 68-76.
    5. Ma, Yiqun, 2013. "Iron ore spot price volatility and change in forward pricing mechanism," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 621-627.
    6. Wu, Jinxi & Yang, Jie & Ma, Linwei & Li, Zheng & Shen, Xuesi, 2016. "A system analysis of the development strategy of iron ore in China," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 32-40.

    More about this item


    Iron ore; Price negotiations; Foreign investment; China; Steel industry; Resource security;

    JEL classification:

    • F50 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - General
    • Q37 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Issues in International Trade
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)


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