Iron ore is closing in on $80 a tonne

Star Wars Episode IV/ Lucasfilm/Twentieth Century Fox. Source: IMDB

Iron ore spot markets rallied on Thursday, hitting the highest level in close to five months.

However, with futures down heavily in overnight trade, it looks like those moves may be reversed in the session ahead.

According to Metal Bulletin, the price for benchmark 62% fines rose 1% to $79.08 a tonne, leaving it at the highest level since August 22.

It has now rallied 35% from the end of October, in line with a similar move in Chinese steel markets.

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

58% fines rallied 1.4% to $43.30 a tonne, marginally outpacing a 1.1% gain in ore with 65% Fe content which settled at $94.60 a tonne.

The move in spot markets mirrored continued strength in rebar futures in Shanghai which rallied for a third consecutive session.

The May 2018 contract finished up 0.1% at 3,838 yuan, continuing to benefit from measures introduced by Chinese policymakers to curb steel production capacity in the years ahead.

Iron ore futures traded separately in Dalian went the other direction, closing down 0.4% at 556 yuan a tonne. Coke and coking coal contracts also weakened, closing at 2,029.5 yuan and 1,377 yuan respectively.

However, as seen in the scoreboard below, all four contracts fell in overnight trade.

SHFE Rebar ¥3,811 , -1.01%
DCE Iron Ore ¥546.50 , -1.62%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,345.50 , -1.39%
DCE Coke ¥2,004.00 , -1.04%

The broad-based weakness suggests that iron ore spot markets may be unable to sustain the positive momentum seen on Thursday today.

Trade will resume in all contracts at midday AEDT, around a hour or so before the release of Chinese international trade data for December, a report that will include both iron ore imports and steel exports.

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