China iron ore futures plunge on regulator's price monitoring plan

BEIJING (Reuters) - Benchmark iron ore futures in China tumbled for a second straight session on Tuesday, trimming their gains so far in 2021 to 31% from more than 50% earlier, as Beijing’s plans to step up inspection into commodity prices dented sentiment.

Piles of imported iron ore are seen at a port in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, China May 9, 2019. Picture taken May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

The most-traded iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, for September delivery, dropped as much as 5.2% to 1,110 yuan ($171.75) a tonne, its lowest in two weeks. It closed down 2.7% at 1,139 yuan per tonne.

“Following the recent macro policies … speculations have begun to cool down and iron ore prices have fluctuated”, analysts at Huatai Futures wrote in a note.

China’s state planner and market regulator on Monday looked into spot market at the Beijing Iron Ore Trading Center and said they would closely monitor prices and investigate malicious speculation.

Spot prices of iron ore with 62% iron content for delivery to China, compiled by SteelHome consultancy, fell $7 to $210.5 per tonne on Monday.

Meanwhile, the off-peak season for steel products and capacity controls at mills also weakened demand for steelmaking ingredients, Huatai Futures said.

Construction rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, for October delivery, declined 2.1% to 4,885 yuan a tonne, the lowest closing price since May 27.

Hot-rolled coils, used in the manufacturing sector, fell 2.4% to 5,153 yuan per tonne.

Dalian coking coal ended up 0.4% at 1,969 yuan a tonne.

Coke futures on the Dalian bourse inched up 0.4% to 2,682 yuan per tonne.

Shanghai stainless steel futures, for July delivery, jumped 2.1% to 16,435 yuan a tonne.

($1 = 6.4628 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Min Zhang and Shivani Singh; editing by Uttaresh.V, Aditya Soni