China iron ore futures fall as port inventory rises

Iron ore shipments at the port of Qingdao. (Image courtesy of China’s Port of Qingdao Authority)

Benchmark Dalian iron ore futures fell on Monday as data showed the inventory of the steelmaking material at Chinese ports had climbed to the highest in more than a month.

The most-actively traded iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, for September delivery, fell as much as 1.3% to 887.5 yuan ($129.03) a tonne, and was down 0.4% as of 0248 GMT.

Port stocks of seaborne iron ore across China stood at 118.35 million tonnes as of July 19, rebounding from a two-and-a-half-year low of 115.25 million tonnes as of June 28, data tracked by SteelHome consultancy showed.

The latest weekly figure is the highest since the second week of June.

The iron ore benchmark climbed to a record of 924.50 yuan a tonne on July 16 and has risen more than 100% this year amid supply outages in top exporters Australia and Brazil, and robust demand in China.

Despite the rising stockpiles, it may be too early to conclude that worries about supply are about to go away, said a Shanghai-based trader, adding that steel mills’ demand for iron ore remains intact.

“The inventory figures could be higher because of an increase in import volumes, or there could also be some delay in the delivery from ports to the mills,” the trader said. “We need to see a trend running for several weeks.”

Fundamentals

Benchmark spot 62% iron ore for delivery to China <SH-CCN-IRNOR62> was up 0.4% at $122 a tonne on Friday, Steelhome data showed. It climbed to $126.50 on July 3, the most since January 2014, SteelHome data showed.

The most-active steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, for October delivery, was up 0.1% at 3,975 yuan a tonne.

Hot-rolled steel used in cars and home appliances edged 0.7% higher at 3,894 yuan a tonne.

Other steelmaking inputs were trading mixed, with Dalian coking coal up 0.5% at 1,413 yuan a tonne while coke was little changed at 2,164.50 yuan.

China said on Monday it will impose anti-dumping duties on some stainless steel products imported from the European Union, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia.

The boss of the Tangyin Steel Plant, owned by the Tangshan Iron and Steel Group, has been detained after the plant, located in Hebei province, was found to have violated anti-smog restrictions, state media reported on Monday.

($1 = 6.8783 yuan)

(By Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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