Iron ore markets are unusually quiet

Guang Niu/Getty Images
  • Limited movement was recorded across iron ore spot markets on Wednesday.
  • Trade was also quiet in Chinese bulk commodity and steel futures.
  • New data suggests Chinese steel production is ramping up. Output restrictions during winter are also likely to be lifted at the end of March.

There was limited movement across iron ore spot markets on Wednesday.

According to Metal Bulletin, the price for benchmark 62% fines dipped 0.1% to $85.11 a tonne, extending its losing streak into a third consecutive session.

58% fines shed 0.2%, settling at $71.09 a tonne, while 65% Brazilian fines rose 0.1% to $96.50 a tonne.

In contrast to the whippy price movements seen in recent months, it was an unusually quiet session.

The mixed price action came despite news that Chinese steel mill utilisation rates rose last week, suggesting demand for raw materials is also starting to improve.

According to Mysteel, utilisation rates lifted to to 63.4%, up from 62.3% in the previous week. That followed separate data estimating Chinese crude steel output stood at 71 million tonnes in February, up a hefty 9.2% on the same month a year earlier.

Like physical markets, futures were also quiet on Wednesday.

Dalian iron ore eased to 613.5 yuan, down one yuan from Tuesday evening.

Coking coal and coke contracts also fell, sliding to 1,229.5 and 1,948 yuan respectively, down from Tuesday’s night session close of 1,235.5 and 1,968 yuan.

The weakness across the bulks came despite limited movement in Chinese steel futures traded in Shanghai.

Rebar and hit-rolled coil finished at 3,711 and 3,675 yuan, up three and 16 yuan respectively from the prior night session close.

Hinting it may be another quiet start to trade in physical markets on Thursday, there was very little change on those levels on Wednesday evening.

SHFE Hot Rolled Coil ¥3,675 , 0.22%
SHFE Rebar ¥3,709 , 0.00%
DCE Iron Ore ¥612.50 , -0.16%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,233.50 , 0.41%
DCE Coke ¥1,952.00 , -0.48%

Trade in Chinese futures will resume at midday AEDT.

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