MANILA: Iron ore futures fell on Monday, as new reports over the weekend highlighting an increase in COVID-19 deaths in top steel producer China weighed on sentiment.
The most-traded May iron ore on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 3.6% to 839.0 yuan ($125.35) a tonne as of 0220 GMT.
On the Singapore Exchange, the benchmark February iron ore was down 4.1% at $120.40 a tonne.
China said on Saturday nearly 60,000 people with COVID-19 had died in hospital since it abandoned its zero-COVID policy last month, a huge increase from previously reported figures that follows global criticism of the country’s coronavirus data.
China’s new home prices fell for the fifth straight month in December, as COVID-19 outbreaks hurt demand but the dismantling of strict pandemic curbs and hope for more support measures have brightened the outlook.
“Potential downside market risks include the increased likelihood of additional COVID-19 waves, given the evolution of new variants on a virgin population,” said Atilla Widnell, managing director of Navigate Commodities.
“At the same time, we anticipate government bodies will step up the frequency and intensity of investigations into what they deem to be exorbitantly high iron ore prices,” he added.
India will seek an easing of European Union steel import quotas and tarrifs in talks for a new trade deal as Indian steelmakers struggle to sell the alloy in one of world’s big markets, a senior government official said. Asian shares started cautiously as investors waited nervously to see if the Bank of Japan will defend its super-sized stimulus policy at a meeting this week, while a US market holiday made for thin trading.
The most-active rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 1.1%, hot-rolled coil slipped 1.2%, wire rod dropped 0.5%, while stainless steel rose 0.5%. Dalian coking coal fell 0.6%, while coke inched 0.04% higher.