Iron ore dips as traders curb optimism over China demand recovery

Reuters · 05/11/2023 02:25
Iron ore dips as traders curb optimism over China demand recovery

By Enrico Dela Cruz

- Iron ore dipped on Thursday, with Dalian futures retreating from a more-than-two-week high, and the Singapore benchmark contract briefly trading back below $100 a tonne, as traders tempered their optimism over demand recovery prospects in China.

The most-traded September iron ore on China's Dalian Commodity Exchange DCIOcv1 was down 1.9% at 710 yuan ($102.72) a tonne, as of 0605 GMT. It climbed to as high as 733 yuan on Wednesday, its strongest since April 24.

On the Singapore Exchange, iron ore's benchmark June contract SZZFM3 slumped as much as 3.5% to $99.70 a tonne.

Prices of the steelmaking ingredient rebounded earlier this week following cumulative heavy losses since early last month, propped up by expectations of expanded stimulus for China's economy amid a patchy recovery and a challenging outlook due to external headwinds.

Iron ore prices also received an extra boost from reports that some of China's steel mills were set to resume production following maintenance shutdown, and its confirmation of steel output cuts, which supported steel prices and steel mills' margins.

"We believe the rally in iron ore is unsustainable, as we don't expect a quick turnaround in steel demand amid a weak property market in China," Citi analysts said in a .

While recent data showed some improvement in certain areas of China's property sector, analysts believe a full recovery from months of downturn is still in sight, thus keeping steel demand muted.

Rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SRBcv1 shed 1.5%, hot-rolled coil SHHCcv1 dipped 1.8%, wire rod SWRcv1 slumped 3.3%, and stainless steel SHSScv1 lost 0.7%.

Coking coal DJMcv1 and coke DCJcv1 on the Dalian exchange dropped 0.2% and 1.3%, respectively.

Steel mills in North China's Hebei and East China's Shandong provinces lowered coke procurement prices by another 100 yuan a tonne on May 10, marking the seventh round of price cut since April, according to consultancy and data provider Mysteel.

(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; additional reporting by Amy Lv in Beijing; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)