Iron ore prices jump ahead of Lunar New Year holidays

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While most iron ore market participants are already winding down for holidays, those who continue to trade were buying on Tuesday.

According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines jumped by 1.5% to $77.36 a tonne, leaving it sitting at the highest level since January 12.

Prices have chopped around in recent sessions as market liquidity has dried up ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations in China.

Like the benchmark, strong gains were recorded across the board on Tuesday.

58% fines rose 1.2% to $43.88 a tonne while ore with 65% Fe content added a smaller 0.6% to settle at $93.30 a tonne.

The strong gains followed a bounce in Chinese iron ore futures earlier in the session.

According to the Dalian Commodities Exchange, the May 2018 iron ore contract finished trade up 1.3% at 529 yuan a tonne. Coking coal and coke contracts also pushed higher, adding 0.6% and 0.3% respectively to close at 1,364.5 yuan and 2,111.5 yuan a tonne.

Rebar futures traded separately on the Shanghai Futures exchange also ground higher, finishing trade at 3,921 yuan a tonne, up 0.4% for the session.

As seen in the scoreboard below, all contracts aside from rebar added to those gains in overnight trade.

SHFE Rebar ¥3,920 , 0.05%
DCE Iron Ore ¥534.50 , 1.62%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,374.00 , 1.10%
DCE Coke ¥2,138.50 , 1.33%

The continued strength in iron ore futures suggests spot markets may follow suit today, at least based off early indications.

Trade in Chinese commodity futures will resume at midday AEDT.

From Thursday, futures markets will close for a week for Lunar New year holidays.

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