Iron ore has fallen heavily again

Phillipe Lopez/ AFP/ Getty Images.

Iron ore has fallen heavily again.

According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines tumbled 1.6% to $74.51 a tonne, leaving it at the lowest level since December 28.

It has now fallen in each of the past four trading sessions, losing 5.8% in the process.

That’s also its longest losing streak since late October 2017.

Both lower and higher grades lost ground during the session.

58% fines fell 0.7% to $41.47 a tone. Ore with 65% Fe content fared a little worse, sliding 1.1% to $90 a tonne.

Analysts put the declines down to tepid demand as a result of ongoing steel production curbs in northern Chinese provinces over winter.

“Mills in the northern part of China are still facing restrictions on production and steel demand is also slow in most parts of the region because most construction work has stopped during winter,” an unnamed Shanghai-based iron ore trader told Reuters.

The production cuts are scheduled to run through to mid-March.

Whether due to tepid demand or other factors, iron ore futures were also softer, closing the session down 0.8% at 531.5 yuan a tonne having earlier hit a three-week low of 525.5 yuan a tonne.

Hinting that tepid demand from steel mills may be factor behind the recent price slide, coking coal and coke contracts — other key steel making ingredients — also fell, finishing down 1.8% and 0.9% respectively at 1,284 and 1,959 yuan a tonne.

Rebar futures, in contrast, edged higher, rising 0.3% to 3,827 yuan a tonne.

However, as was the case on Tuesday, the losses from Wednesday’s day session were partially unwound in overnight trade.

SHFE Rebar ¥3,835 , 0.50%
DCE Iron Ore ¥533.00 , 0.66%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,276.50 , 0.20%
DCE Coke ¥1,963.00 , 0.56%

Futures will resume trade at midday AEDT ahead of a swathe of major Chinese economic data releases scheduled during the session.

Chinese new home prices for December will be released at 12.30pm AEDT. That will be followed at 3.30pm AEDY by industrial output, fixed asset investment and retail sales — also for December.

The headline act — Q4 GDP — is now scheduled to be released at 6pm AEDT.

All aside from retail sales carry the potential to move commodity markets.

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