Iron ore markets are in consolidation mode

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Iron ore spot markets stabilised on Friday after three consecutive days of losses.

According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines rose by 0.34% to $90.37 a tonne, leaving the gain for the week at a still impressive 4.3%.

It has now risen 14.6%.

Both higher and lower grade ores bucked the trend, falling slightly during the session.

The rebound in the benchmark price followed news that Chinese iron ore production fell in 2016, according to information released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

“The country produced 1.28 billion tonnes of run-of-mine (ROM) iron ore last year, down 3% from 2015’s total,” said Metal Bulletin, citing data from the NBS.

“In terms of iron ore concentrate, which are of comparable grades to seaborne supply, China’s domestic output fell by an even sharper 9.7% last year to 231 million tonnes, according to a report jointly released by the Metallurgical Mines’ Association of China and local information provider Custeel.

“In contrast, the country imported 1.024 billion tonnes of iron ore in 2016, up 7.5% per tonne from a year earlier,” it added.

Fitting with the modest market moves seen in the latter parts of last week, Chinese iron ore futures were fairly stable on Friday evening, mirroring the moves seen in other commodity futures.

The May 2017 contract on the Dalian Commodities Exchange added 0.35%, closing trade at 701.5 yuan.

Rebar, coke and coking coal futures were also modestly higher, adding 1.1%, 0.65% and 0.39% respectively.

Trade in Chinese commodity futures will resume at midday AEDT.

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