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Going Down: Rio Tinto

RIO TINTO, the world's biggest miner, says its Australian iron ore unit, Hamersley Iron Pty, has agreed to price cuts of 11 per cent for fine ore and 10.2 per cent for lump ore with Japanese steel makers. Ian Bauert, Hamersley's director of sales and marketing, said the settlement "has been reached at a time when Japanese crude steel production is at its lowest level in 27 years and shows signs of further deterioration. The European steel industry has sharply cut back production levels and the outlook remains uncertain".

"I think these prices were a bit weaker than the market was anticipating. It doesn't look good for other producers," said Ian Galloway, at Macquarie Investment Management.