The domestic steel companies had a sigh of relief after the iron ore prices were lowered for the October-December quarter. Recently, the quarterly pricing norms came into effect, due to which the prices have come down from their peak levels for the first time. The lowered price will be valid for the October-December period this year and is expected to benefit large domestic steel companies such as state-owned Steel Authority of India, JSW Steel and Essar Steel , which buy through contracts from the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). The price fall in iron ore is primarily attributed to the lower demand from the China, the biggest buyer in the global market. Leading mining companies like BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Vale have already firmed up deals with Asian steelmakers at prices lower by 10-11% than those prevailing in the July-September quarter. However, according to the NMDC chairman Rana Som "Prices have come down marginally in the current quarter," In line with this NMDC has reduced prices of ore exported to countries like Japan and South Korea by 13.3 per cent to USD 130-147 a tonne for the third quarter this year. NMDC exports about three million tonnes of iron ore every year to the mills in Japan and Korea. The impact of lowering input cost at the final steel price will take time as the steel producers has announced a price hike in the current month. The price hike was between Rs 1000 and 1,500 per tonne.