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It's been an ugly session for Chinese iron ore and coking coal futures

Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

It’s been another ugly session for bulk commodity futures in China with rebar, iron ore and coking coal all adding to their overnight losses.

Here’s the scoreboard at mid-session break on Tuesday.

SHFE Rebar ¥3,576 , -4.21%
DCE Iron Ore ¥439.00 , -2.23%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,082.50 , -2.43%
DCE Coke ¥1,841.50 , -3.74%

It’s yet another sea of red, led by rebar futures in Shanghai which are down more than 4%. The flurry of buying activity seen on Monday has now all but been reversed, and then some.

The weakness in rebar futures has led to significant selling pressure in iron ore and coking coal coal contracts in Dalian which have shed 2.5%, adding to the losses seen overnight.

The January 2017 iron ore contract now sits at the lowest level since mid-July, undermined by ongoing concerns that looming steel production cuts in China on environmental grounds will sap steel mill demand.

“We still believe that iron ore prices will receive some degree of support from elevated steel mill margins,’ said Vivek Dhar, mining and energy commodities analyst at the Commonwealth Bank.

“The winter period will see spare [steel production] capacity constrained, which should translate through to weaker iron ore demand.”

Like Dhar of the Commonwealth Bank, analysts at Deutsche Bank says that steel production curbs beginning in mid-November could see the benchmark iron ore price fall below $60 a tonne.

“We think a demand ‘air pocket’ from Chinese steel production curbs over heating season from November 15 to March 15 could drive 62% Fe iron ore prices lower into the $50-60 a tonne range,” it says. “We now forecast $55 a tonne for [the December quarter] then a recovery to $70 a tonne by mid-2018.”

On Monday, the spot price for benchmark 62% iron ore fines rose 0.7% to $62.67 a tonne, according to Metal Bulletin.

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