Iron ore rebounds as China property sector concerns ease

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  • Dalian iron ore snaps five-session slump
  • SGX iron ore rises back above $90/T
  • Spot iron ore stays at 18-month low

Nov 19 (Reuters) - Benchmark iron ore futures rebounded on Friday following some positive news from China's troubled property sector, but traders remained cautious over the overall demand outlook for the raw material in the world's biggest steel producer.

The most-traded January iron ore on China's Dalian Commodity Exchange ended daytime trading 2.5% higher at 536 yuan ($84.00) a tonne. The contract hit 509.50 yuan earlier in the day, its lowest since Nov. 6, 2020, and marked its sixth consecutive weekly decline.

On the Singapore Exchange , iron ore's front-month December contract was up 5.1% at $90.60 a tonne, as of 0724 GMT.

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"There's been a swarm of positive news from Chinese property developers. This is sentiment-driven, nothing has actually changed," said Atilla Widnell, managing director at Navigate Commodities in Singapore.

Debt-laden China Evergrande (3333.HK) has resumed construction of 63 projects in the southern Pearl River delta, while Country Garden Services Holding (6098.HK) raised HK$8 billion ($1 billion) in a share sale. read more

Concerns about the debt problems of Chinese property developers, a sector that accounts for about a quarter of the domestic steel demand, had recently added pressure on prices of iron ore and steel.

Benchmark 62%-grade iron ore's spot price in China was $90 a tonne on Thursday, the weakest in 18 months, according to SteelHome consultancy data.

Iron ore's year-to-date losses

Environmental restrictions, which have forced Chinese steel mills to curb production this year, are likely to continue until after the Beijing Olympics in February as authorities seek to clear smog-laden skies.

"Despite ongoing steel production cuts, weak demand has resulted in a loose market balance, pulling down steel prices and margins," said Richard Lu, a senior analyst at CRU in Beijing.

"In addition, iron ore inventories have built up to a multi-year high level."

Construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 2.2%, while hot-rolled coil jumped 1.3%. Stainless steel gained 0.4%.

Dalian coking coal dropped 0.7%, but coke rose 0.5%.

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Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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