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The Iron Ore Boom That Refuses to Die

Since iron-ore prices jumped 19 percent in a day back in March, the world's big miners and steelmakers have been waiting for the moment when China cools its blast furnaces and the bubble finally bursts.

There have been a few signs the party might be coming to an end. Ore delivered to Qingdao suffered its sharpest one-day fall in two months last Friday, and dropped in August for the first time since May.

Tracking of bulk carriers leaving Australian iron-ore ports suggests that exports of ore turned down sharply in July, Bloomberg data show. While the numbers aren't a perfect reflection of final export figures, they've worked well as a leading indicator of the official data over the past two years.

So has the crash finally arrived, or is it just a monthly blip?

The lull appears to contradict evidence that shows China's steel industry still running hot. The floor space of buildings...