Iron ore markets started Lunar New Year celebrations early

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Like the millions of firecrackers that will be lit over the next 24 hours, iron ore markets entered Lunar New Year with a bang with strong gains recorded across the board.

According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines jumped 1.4% to $78.41 a tonne, adding to the 1.5% gain achieved on Tuesday.

It now sits at the highest level since January 11.

Like the benchmark, both lower and higher grades rose during the session.

58% fines gained 1% to $44.32 a tonne while ore with 65% Fe content rose by a smaller 0.5% to finish at $93.80 a tonne.

The move in spot markets followed another strong day in Chinese iron ore futures.

The May 2018 iron ore contract rallied 2.6%, closing the session at 539.5 yuan a tonne.

Other raw steel making ingredients also found a tailwind with coking coal and coke contracts rising 1.1% and 1.5% respectively to 1,373.5 yuan and 2,141.5 yuan a tonne.

Rebar futures traded separately in Shanghai also pushed higher, rising 0.4% to close at 3,934 yuan a tonne.

One analyst who spoke to Reuters said the gains were fuelled by optimism over the outlook for steel demand during the Spring construction season in China.

“Many mills have good profit expectations for the first and second quarter so they have increased purchases of iron ore,” they told Reuters.

With most market participants already on holiday, no one can say truthfully whether it was sentiment or just thin liquidity that led to yesterday’s increases.

While spot markets will continue trading, Chinese commodity futures markets will be closed over the next week for Lunar New Year celebrations.

Business Insider will update spot price movements should they occur over this period, otherwise usual coverage will resume next Thursday, February 22.

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