MANILA: Dalian iron ore rose to a two-week high on Tuesday as trading resumed in top steel producer China after a three-day weekend, with supply concerns and signs of stronger demand buoying investor sentiment.
The most-traded January iron ore contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange climbed as much as 2.1% to 729.50 yuan ($105.33) a tonne. On the Singapore Exchange, the steelmaking ingredient’s benchmark October contract was up 1.8% at $103.90 a tonne. It touched a two-week high of $104.55 a tonne on Monday.
“Iron ore arrivals at Chinese ports declined 2.32 million tonnes last week and, when combined with a continuation of robust daily port off-takes, should result in a material draw in portside inventories,” said Navigate Commodities Managing Director Atilla Widnell.
Iron ore shipments from Australia and Brazil declined 1.52 million tonnes over the same period, tightening the near-term balance, he added.
China’s iron ore portside inventory declined for the first time in 11 weeks to 142.1 million tonnes, as of Sept. 9, SteelHome consultancy data showed.
The blast furnace capacity utilisation rate among 247 Chinese steel mills regularly surveyed by Mysteel consultancy increased to 87.56% over Sept. 2-8, rising for the sixth straight week.
Dalian coking coal and coke rose 3.4% and 2.2%, respectively. Market sentiment has also been lifted by recent positive news from China’s ailing property sector and Beijing’s renewed policy support for the Covid-ravaged economy.
Rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 0.8%, while hot-rolled coil climbed 1%. Stainless steel advanced 3.3%. However, it remains a concern for market participants if Chinese steel demand would recover significantly in the near term.
“The litmus test will be whether construction activity benefits from the seasonal demand peaks of ‘Golden September, Silver October’, given the recent frequency of COVID lockdowns,” Widnell said, referring to China’s peak construction months.