Dalian and Singapore iron ore futures dipped on Friday, with Chinese regulators seeking to temper traders’ excitement for stronger demand for the steel making ingredient, though prices were still set for weekly gains.
Major iron ore producers such as BHP GroupBHP.AX and Rio TintoRIO.AX, RIO.L said this week they have seen signs of a rebound in Chinese demand, after Beijing lifted COVID restrictions and rolled out supportive measures for struggling property developers.
A brightening outlook for top steel producer China had lifted the Dalian and Singapore iron ore benchmarks past the $120-$130 trading range they had been confined to for weeks.
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Spot prices also rose this week as Chinese steel mills further ramped up their production.
“Steel mills were said to be preparing for a busier construction season in the next quarter with steel output up 6% in early February,” Westpac analysts said in a note.
The blast furnace capacity utilization rate among 247 Chinese steel mills under Mysteel’s regular survey climbed for the seventh consecutive week to 86.97% over Feb. 17-23, up by 1.22 percentage points on week, the industry information and consultancy provider reported.
But prices have pulled back a bit following the Dalian Commodity Exchange’s (DCE) move to curb speculative activity.
The most-traded May iron ore on the DCE DCIOcv1 ended daytime trade 0.2% lower at 909.50 yuan ($131.19) a tonne. It was, however, on track for a weekly gain of nearly 3%.
On the Singapore Exchange, benchmark March iron ore SZZFH3 was trading at $128.50 a tonne, as of 0719 GMT, down 1% from Thursday but 1.6% firmer this week.
Steel benchmarks and other Dalian steelmaking inputs were also subdued.
Rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SRBcv1 dipped 0.9%, hot-rolled coil SHHCcv1 shed 0.3%, wire rod SWRcv1 edged down 0.1%, and stainless steel SHSScv1 lost 0.4%.
Coking coal DJMcv1 and coke DCJcv1 edged up 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Rashmi Aich)