What: Iron ore prices continue to struggle and Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) is taking the decline hard. The company's stock dropped 15% in June and now has fallen a total of 24.5% since the beginning of June.
So what: Iron ore prices on The Steel Index fell 11% last week to $54.10 as oversupply continues to plague the industry. Cliffs Natural is already struggling with declining revenue and hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, so falling iron ore prices won't help the company's future.
Long-term, there are a number of challenges facing iron ore, like slowing Chinese growth and expanding iron ore production in Australia, which has been a big driver of the market's falling prices.
Now what: At this point there's a lot of question as to whether Cliffs Natural Resources can survive. The company has $2.9 billion in long-term debt and is swimming in red ink quarter after quarter. Last quarter the company had a cash production cost of $65 per ton and realized price was $93 per ton, which will likely fall significantly in the future. I think the risk in the iron ore business is too high to jump in and Cliffs Natural Resources could be in a lot of trouble financially if/when debt markets reject requests for more money.