Iron ore price extends gains on China stimulus bets

Hot steel on conveyor in steel mill. Stock image.

Dalian and Singapore iron ore futures climbed on Monday to their highest levels in six weeks, with traders betting on a recovery in demand after a report said top steel producer China was working on new measures to support its property market.

Regulators were considering a package of measures including further relaxing restrictions for residential purchases, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

China has recently rolled out supportive measures for the struggling sector, a key driver of steel demand and considered a pillar of the nation’s economy, but the policy action seemed inadequate to sustain a rebound.

Disappointing Chinese indicators have also fanned hopes for additional policy intervention, analysts said.

The most-traded September iron ore on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange ended daytime trading 2.2% higher at 759 yuan ($106.68) a tonne. It earlier hit 770 yuan, its strongest since April 20.

On the Singapore Exchange, iron ore’s benchmark July contract was up 1.4% at $105.35 a tonne, as of 0709 GMT, off a session high of $108, its highest since April 21.

“There appears to be two camps for iron ore traders at the moment, those who are betting on immediate intervention and those who favour prolonged economic pain before China takes action,” Navigate Commodities managing director Atilla Widnell said.

“Even if the Chinese government were to intervene with fiscal and/or monetary stimulus, there would be a foreseeable time lag before it would have a meaningful impact on steel demand.”

Analysts also expect the summertime slowdown in Chinese construction activity beginning June to curb iron ore demand and prices.

Rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 2.1%, hot-rolled coil climbed 2.0%, wire rod added 0.8%, while stainless steel dipped 0.3%.

Coking coal and coke on the Dalian exchange rose 0.3% and 1.9%, respectively.

(By Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Subhranshu Sahu)


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