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China — the top consumer of BHP Billiton’s (NYSE:BHP) iron ore — has made allegations that the mining company has manipulated the market, forcing an 80 percent increase in prices over the past six months, a charge that BHP has refuted. Along with this statement, as if to indicate that any such charge was unthinkable, the miner asserted on Thursday that it was committed to a transparent iron ore market.
As part of the manipulation accusation, China’s national planning agency stated on Wednesday that the world’s three largest mining companies have delayed shipments, and, along with the help of some traders, held back stocks in order “to send a fake market signal that there was a supply shortage,” according to Reuters.
The National Development and Reform Commission, NDRC, did not name any miners specifically, but the world’s top three iron ore producers are BHP, the Australian mining company Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), and Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE). Together, these three companies produce approximately two-thirds of the world’s total output…
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