Iron ore prices remain choppy

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Iron ore spot markets finished mixed on Tuesday with mid and higher grades outperforming their lower peers.

According to Metal Bulletin, the price for benchmark 62% fines rose 0.7% to $67.76
a tonne, largely reversing Monday’s 1% decline.

As seen in the chart below, the benchmark now appears to be consolidating following a sharp rally from early November.

Ore with 65% ore content also gained during the session, rising 0.5% to $83.30 a tonne.

In contrast, the price of 58% fines fell fractionally, slipping 0.3% to $37.72 a tonne.

Mid-and higher grade ores have outperformed recently, benefiting from limits on Chinese steel production over winter which has seen mills favour more efficient grades.

Continued strength in steel prices has also helped to underpin gains with rebar futures in Shanghai closing up 0.7% at 3,872 yuan, near the highest level in six weeks.

According to data from Shanghai Steelhome, rebar inventories held by Chinese traders fell to 3.35 million tonnes last week, the lowest level since 2011.

Despite the gains in rebar contracts, iron ore futures in Dalian slipped 1.2%, closing at 504.5 yuan.

Providing few clues as to what direction spot markets may move today, Chinese futures fell marginally in overnight trade.

Here’s the final scoreboard from Tuesday’s night session.

SHFE Rebar ¥3,862 , 0.10%
DCE Iron Ore ¥501.50 , -0.10%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,336.00 , 1.98%
DCE Coke ¥2,066.50 , -0.31%

Trade in Chinese commodity futures will resume at midday AEDT.

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