SINGAPORE, Mar 15, 2016 - ( JCN Newswire ) - TMT Asia Limited has filed a lawsuit against BHP Billiton, accusing the world's largest diversified miner of manipulating iron ore prices for Capesize vessels from time to time in the years following the financial crisis.
The claim, which was filed in Singapore, explains that as BHPB's iron ore production operations are mainly in Australia and the world's leading importer of iron ore is China, BHPB is in a dominant position over the supply of iron ore from Western Australia to China (C5 route), and is able to effectively prevent fair competition from being maintained on this route.
Freight prices for the C5 route rose drastically within a short time span in October 2012, causing the corresponding rise in the prices of iron ore.
TMT Asia argues that BHPB allegedly abused their position to reap illegitimate profit by manipulating the prices of freight in the relevant Capesize routes to rise to an artificially high rate, before forcing them down again. As a result of this manipulation, TMT Asia suffered losses and damages in the sum of US$ 81,500.
The 22-page claim identifies strange patterns during long National Day holidays in China when the markets were shut. During 1-10 October 2012, iron ore prices uncharacteristically spiked up by 15%. Similarly, in February 2013 during the Chinese New Year holidays, iron ore prices shot up to US$135. The claim then explains that during the long National Day holidays there was no legitimate or proper commercial use for the vessels as there was no real activity.
Mr. Nobu Su, Chairman of TMT Asia, commented: "I have been monitoring the price of iron ore for many years and it is clear that multinational mining companies have painted a false and misleading appearance of the iron ore market. In both the physical and derivatives markets, there are special rules favouring the big players. The world shipping and steel industries are presently facing the worst crisis in their history so it has never been more important for prices to be a true and transparent reflection of the supply-demand mechanism."
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