Iron ore prices fall for a second day

Martin Steinthaler / Hoch Zwei / Getty Images
  • Iron ore spot markets fell for a second session on Thursday.
  • Speculation over potential temporary industrial output curbs in northern China, soft Chinese economic data and a lift in Chinese iron ore port inventories were all cited as possible factors to explain the weakness.
  • Following a soft Chinese inflation report for December, speculation about further stimulus measures to support the economy are growing.

Iron ore prices fell for a second consecutive session on Thursday, weighed down by speculation of further temporary curbs on steel output in northern China.

According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines slipped 0.7% to $73.36 a tonne, adding to the 0.8% decline seen on Wednesday.

Higher grade ore also softened with the price for 65% Brazilian fines dipping 0.5% to $87.70 a tonne.

Lower grade ore managed to escape much of the selling pressure with 58% fines falling buy a solitary cent to $47.51 a tonne.

The small losses mirrored similar price movements in Chines steel futures which closed marginally below the levels seen on Wednesday evening.

A steady increase in Chinese iron ore port inventories, along with speculation about further industrial curbs in northern China on environmental grounds, also heaped pressure on bulk futures traded separately in Dalian.

According to SteelHome Consultancy, Chinese iron ore port inventories rose to the highest level since mid-November last week, fitting with reports of increased restocking demand.

Separately, a statement from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment noting the risk of severe smog in northern China until January 14 helped spur speculation that temporary industrial production curbs could soon be introduced, potentially impacting demand for raw materials temporarily.

That may have weighed on iron ore, coking coal and coke futures which all finished trade below Wednesday’s night session close.

The weakness in spot and futures markets came despite the release of soft Chinese inflation data for December, seeing chatter about the potential for more stimulus measures to be rolled out in the coming months intensify.

Continuing the theme seen throughout the week, Chinese futures remained choppy in overnight trade on Thursday with all major contracts ending fractionally above the day session close.

SHFE Hot Rolled Coil ¥3,424 , -0.09%
SHFE Rebar ¥3,517 , -0.20%
DCE Iron Ore ¥509.50 , 0.30%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,202.50 , 0.97%
DCE Coke ¥1,941.00 , 0.08%

Trade in Chinese commodity futures will resume at midday AEDT.

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