Iron ore price down on demand uncertainties

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Iron ore prices fell about 3% on Friday, as the market is on the lookout for Chinese government policy towards steel output controls.

“It will be interesting to see if China will ease its steel curtailment policy after the Winter Olympics,” CreditSights said in a report.

“While that seems unlikely given the country’s longer-term decarbonization targets, it remains to be seen how strictly the local steelmakers will follow the policy given the lucrative margins across all major steel products.”

“Our view for iron ore price remains unchanged for 2022, at an average $100 tonne – lower than in 2021, but still at historically elevated levels. Producers face lower steel output in China amid environmental controls, weakening property construction market and energy pressures in manufacturing,” Moody’s said in a note.

Benchmark iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange slipped 2.3% to 722 yuan per tonne, while spot iron ore inched up $0.5 to $132.5 on Thursday, according to SteelHome consultancy.

According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $128.01 a tonne during morning trading, down 1.4% compared to Monday’s closing.

China’s December iron ore imports slumped 18% month-on-month to 86.07 million tonnes, sending its annual purchase to 1.12 billion tonnes in 2021, down from the record high a year earlier, customs data showed.

($1 = 6.3594 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(With files from Reuters)