Iron ore markets had a slow start to the week


Iron ore spot markets had a slow start to the week with a mixed price performance recorded across the grades on Monday.

According to Metal Bulletin, the price for benchmark 62% fines fell 0.2% to $76.61 a tonne, giving back some ground after Friday’s 2.5% surge.

However, while the benchmark softened, higher and lower grades strengthened.

Ore with 65% Fe content added 0.7%, closing the session at $91.40 a tonne. The price of 58% fines also inched higher, finishing up 0.1% at $42.92 a tonne.

The mixed performance followed further gains in Chinese futures.

The May 2018 rebar contract in Shanghai closed up 1.1% at 3,927 yuan a tonne, continuing the move higher that began last week.

That helped to boost iron ore futures in Dalian which added 0.65%, finishing the day session at 540.5 yuan a tonne.

Providing no real indication as to what direction spot markets may travel today, both rebar and iron ore futures softened slightly in overnight trade.

Here’s the final scoreboard from Monday’s night session.

SHFE Rebar ¥3,914 , -0.63%
DCE Iron Ore ¥537.50 , -1.01%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,273.00 , -1.24%
DCE Coke ¥1,994.00 , -0.82%

The modest reversal followed the release of rebar and iron ore output figures for December.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), rebar output stood at 17.35 million tonnes in December, up 8.9% on the same period a year earlier. That took total output over 2017 to 199.98 million tonnes, reversing declines reported in 2015 and 2016.

That reflects strong demand and the shuttering of illegal steel mills which has seen output increase at other steel producers.

Chinese iron ore output also increased over the year, lifting by 0.9% in December to 109.22 million tonnes. Despite the increase, it was the smallest monthly total since May 2017.

Trade in Chinese commodity futures will resume at midday AEDT.

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