New Dataset Forges Fresh Path to Analyze Commodity Market Trends


ITHACA, NY, MARCH 26, 2024 – Ursa Space has launched a weekly dataset offering volumetric measurements of Iron Ore Stockpiles at key global locations. This subscription delivers unbiased and accurate data extracted from satellite imagery, empowering users to gain valuable insights in a notoriously opaque market and better understand economic trends.

This dataset offers a comprehensive picture of the iron ore market, akin to the role played by Ursa’s Global Oil Inventories product. A trend analysis reveals whether market conditions are oversupplied or undersupplied, which helps determine the direction of prices.

Given the interconnected nature of iron ore with various commodities, currencies, and equities, this dataset is versatile across multiple asset classes. Tradable instruments include Iron Ore Futures, Steel Futures, Chinese Yuan, Australian Dollar, and the MSCI China Index.

Iron Ore is the main input in steel production. As such, iron ore demand reflects steel demand, which is a function of construction trends. 

Information on the iron ore market can help answer a range of questions for a diverse audience, such as:

  • Is China’s construction activity robust enough to revive the world’s second-largest economy after last year’s shaky performance? 
  • Are China’s smelters showing signs of ramping up production for infrastructure projects? Or does the ongoing property crisis continue to hamper steel output?
  • Are major exporters facing supply disruptions that could impact iron ore prices and mining equities?  

The dataset includes portside stockpiles at five strategic locations:

  • Port Hedland, Australia
  • Saldanha Bay, South Africa
  • Ponta da Madeira, Brazil
  • Qingdao, China
  • Caofeidian, China

These locations, considered pivotal in global iron ore trade, encompass the top three exporters (Australia, Brazil, and South Africa) and the largest importer (China).

Utilizing advanced radar satellite imagery, Ursa Space transcends conventional limitations by providing measurements unaffected by cloud cover or darkness. This technology not only ensures unparalleled accuracy but also captures minute topographical changes, setting a new standard for reliability.

To ensure the highest levels of data quality, Ursa Space conducted an accuracy study by comparing measurements of a stockpile location using LiDAR and radar satellite imagery. The results showed a very strong agreement between the datasets, bolstering confidence in our technique.

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