MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Rio Tinto has won a 97 percent price increase for its iron ore from Asian customers this year, the mining company said Tuesday.
The increases, ranging from 79.88 percent to 96.5 percent, represent the sixth consecutive annual increase in iron ore prices, as demand for the steel making material soars from China and other developing nations.
The announcement follows news last week that China's biggest steel producer, Baosteel Group, which represents the country's still mills in talks with iron ore suppliers, had agreed to price hikes of up to 96.5 percent with London-based Rio Tinto, the world's second-largest iron ore producer.
"These agreements are a strong endorsement of the settlement reached last week and reflect the very strong demand for our products across the world's fastest growing markets," Rio Tinto iron ore Chief Executive Sam Walsh said in a statement.
Rio Tinto shares rose almost 1.5 percent to 137.50Australian dollars in trading in Australia. The stock is listed on British and Australian bourses.
BHP Billiton, the world's third-largest iron ore producer and Rio rival, is yet to settle with its Asian customers. BHP Billiton's share price also rose, by 1.6 percent to $44.40.
Rio Tinto's settlement is higher than the one struck by Brazil's Companhia Vale do Rio Doce SA, the world's largest iron ore producer, which agreed with steelmakers to price increases of between 65 per cent and 70 per cent for its ore in 2008.
The price agreement between Rio Tinto and its Asian customers will apply to the contract year that started on April 1.