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Iron ore price jumps as Tangshan mills resume production

Steel works in China. Image by junrong

Iron ore prices jumped on Monday, fuelled by rising demand as mills in steel hub Tangshan resumed production after China’s centenary.

Steel output at some producers was restricted due to the Communist Party’s 100th anniversary and environmental-related policies, sending down utilisation rates of blast furnaces at 247 mills across China to 81.01% as of July 2 from a week earlier, according to Mysteel consultancy.

“As Tangshan resumed production, short-term demand will return to pre-centenary level,” analysts at SinoSteel Futures wrote in a note, adding that overall demand was still weakened by steel cut policies.

The most-traded iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, for September delivery, soared as much as 5.6% to 1,226 yuan ($189.80) per tonne, the highest level since June 11. They closed up 5.5% at 1,225 yuan.

According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $221.82 a tonne on Monday, up 1.8% from Friday’s closing.

Steel supply is facing increasing pressure recently as some areas have stepped up output-cut plans while some mills are facing losses, analysts at Haitong Futures said in a note.

“However, current demand is obviously at off-peak season… (we) expect steel prices will remain range-bound fluctuations,” they added.

(With files from Reuters)

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