UPDATE 1-China to look at measures to curb 'unreasonable' iron ore prices

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BEIJING, March 17 (Reuters) - China’s state planner said on Friday it will look at measures to curb “unreasonable” iron ore prices, the latest in a series of warnings to the market to try to cool surging prices.

The price monitoring centre of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)recently visited Qingdao port in eastern China and Tangshan port in northern China to investigate port inventories of iron ore, storage fees and the market and price situation, it said in a notice on its official Wechat account.

It also urged iron ore trading firms to avoid hoarding and inflating prices, adding that it was studying further measures.

The NDRC had already warned last week it may take steps to curb iron ore prices after a four-month rally, but futures continued to rise this week before dropping on Thursday on concerns about limits on steel output this year. The most-traded May iron ore futures contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange ended Friday trade before the notice was issued at 915 yuan($132.77) a tonne, up 0.4%. It marked a month-on-month rise of 2.3% despite a 2.1% fall for the week.

Meanwhile, on the Singapore Exchange, the steelmaking ingredient’s benchmark April contract was up 1.01% at $130.45 a tonne as of 1035 GMT, a rise of 3.8% month on month. ($1 = 6.8915 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Amy Lv and Dominique Patton in Beijing; Editing by Toby Chopra and Susan Fenton)