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Iron ore price lowest since September on Chinese steel curbs

Tangshan steel works. Image by junrong

Iron ore price slipped on Monday due to sluggish demand at steel mills stemming from Chinese mandated output cuts, while Beijing’s coal price controls also weighed on sentiment.

According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $103.43 a tonne, down 3.7% from Friday’s closing.

Benchmark iron ore price on the Dalian bourse, for January delivery, ended down 5.7% to 619 yuan ($96.68) per tonne.

Steel, cement and coking plants in the steel hub of Tangshan city were recently ordered to cut production following a heavy-pollution alert.

Stocks of imported iron ore at China’s ports gained by 2.1 million tonnes to 142.3 million tonnes last week on weakening demand, data from SteelHome consultancy showed.

Other steelmaking raw materials also declined after the state planner said the coal supply situation had improved significantly.

“Recently, affected by the government’s stringent control of coal prices, costs plunged and sent down steel prices,” analysts with Haitong Futures wrote in a note.

“In the short term, the impact from raw materials could be stronger than fundamentals.”

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(With files from Reuters)