Chinese iron ore futures are suddenly getting hosed

Photo: iStock

It’s not been a good session for Chinese iron ore futures on Tuesday with prices tumbling back below the 700 yuan a tonne level, extending the losses from early last week to over 6%.

Here’s the final scoreboard:

SHFE Rebar ¥3,476 , -3.42%
DCE Iron Ore ¥687.50 , -3.98%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,301.50 , 0.42%
DCE Coke ¥1,890.00 , -0.05%

We’ve included rebar, coking coal and coke futures for two reasons.

The first, to show that steel futures also fell heavily, and that the weakness in rebar and iron ore has not transferred to other steel-making ingredients such as coal.

“With iron ore prices so leveraged to steel prices at the moment, market conditions in China’s steel sector are increasingly becoming more important, said Vivek Dhar, mining and energy commodities analyst at the Commonwealth Bank, referring to ongoing concerns over bloated iron ore inventories held at Chinese ports.

“With steel stockpiles now at levels seen in early 2015, we may finally be at the end of China’s restock cycle, curbing a key upside driver for steel prices.”

That, in turn, may also act as a headwind for iron ore prices should Dhar’s assessment prove correct.

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