Iron ore stumbles as Chinese traders take a break

Photo by China Photos/Getty Images
  • Iron ore spot markets weakened across the board on Wednesday.
  • Record Chinese inventories and trade war concerns weighed on prices during the session, especially in futures.
  • Chinese markets are closed over the next two sessions.

Iron ore spot markets continue to weaken.

According to Metal Bulletin, the price for benchmark 62% fines fell 0.3% to $63.57 a tonne, moving closer towards the multi-month low of $63.12 a tonne struck last week.

Modest declines were also recorded across higher and lower grades on Wednesday.

Ore with 65% Fe content fell 1% to $80.70 a tonne while the price of 58% fines lost 0.8% to close at $37.29 a tonne.

The weakness coincided with further losses in Chinese steel and iron ore markets on Wednesday.

Rebar futures in Dalian closed down 1.1% at 3,318 yuan, outpaced by a significantly larger drop in Dalian iron ore futures which skidded 4.2% to 438.5 yuan.

Analysts said that continued growth in Chinese iron ore port inventories may have contributed to the sharp bout of weakness.

“Iron are fundamentals are still weak,” Zhao Xiaobo, an analyst at Sinosteel Futures in Beijing, told Reuters. “Import volume is high and iron ore stocks in steel mills continue to rise.”

Iron ore inventories held at Chinese ports hit a record high of 161.68 million tonnes last week, according to data from SteelHome consultancy, leaving the increase so far this year at 9%.

Losses in futures accelerated into to close, hinting that new tariffs on US imports announced by China late in the session may have also been a factor.

Trade in Chinese futures will cease on Thursday and Friday due to a two-day public holiday in China.

That means activity in spot markets is also likely to be well below normal levels.

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