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Japanese Steelmakers led by Nippon Steel Corp. agreed Monday to a 65 percent increase in annual iron ore prices, a steel company official said, setting a global benchmark for prices of the raw material used in steelmaking.

The increase will apply for the 12 months from April 1 after Tokyo-based Nippon Steel, Japan’s biggest mill, settled an accord with Brazil’s Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, or CVRD, said the official, who declined to be named because the talks are confidential.

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