Iron ore continues to climb

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  • The benchmark iron ore spot price rose for a fourth consecutive session on Monday, settling at the highest level since mid-June.
  • Chinese rebar futures surged to the highest level since February 2013 on Monday, and continue to sit at elevated levels.
  • China will release manufacturing, non-manufacturing and steel industry PMI reports for July on Tuesday. These have moved markets in the past.

Iron ore prices continue to grind higher.

According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 6% fines rose by 0.2% to $67.65 a tonne on Monday, leaving it at the highest level since mid-June.

It has now closed higher in each of the past four trading sessions.

In contrast to the performance of the benchmark, prices were flat to lower across the grades.

The price of 65% fines was unchanged at $94.10 a tonne while 58% fines shed 0.3% to $38.65 a tonne.

“The price differential between high grade and medium grade ores narrowed last week,” said Vivek Dhar, Mining and Energy Commodities Analyst at the Commonwealth Bank.

“The change potentially indicates that mills are looking towards medium grade ores again due to the high cost of buying high grade ore.”

The mixed performance across spot markets came despite continued gains in Chinese steel futures on Monday.

The October 2018 rebar contract in Shanghai finished trade at 4,130 yuan, up from Friday’s night session close of 4,113 yuan. It briefly hit 4,146 yuan during the session, the highest level since February 2013.

According to Reuters, citing steel industry websites, all sintering machines and shaft furnaces at steel mills located in Tangshan have been ordered to shut down from July 27 to July 31 in order to check pollution levels.

Tangshan is the largest steel producer in China.

The reports also noted that Changzhou in China’s Jiangsu province, another major steel production hub, is planning to cut emissions at industrial plants in steel, non-ferrous and cement sectors by between 50 to 100%. No further details were provided as to when and how this would be achieved.

While that helped to support steel prices, iron ore futures in Dalian eased a touch with the September 2018 contract finishing trade at 488.5 yuan, down marginally from Friday’s night session close of 490.5 yuan.

On contrast, coke and coking coal futures continued to surge, finishing the session at 2,272 and 1,196.5 yuan respectively, up from 2,218 and 1,184 yuan on Friday evening.

As seen in the scoreboard below, coke and coal futures continued to outperform in overnight trade on Monday while iron ore and rebar contracts were largely unchanged.

SHFE Rebar ¥4,128 , 0.10%
DCE Iron Ore ¥489.00 , 0.20%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,207.50 , 1.47%
DCE Coke ¥2,279.00 , 1.38%

Trade in Chinese futures will resume at 11am AEST, the same time China’s government will release manufacturing, non-manufacturing and steel industry PMI reports for July.

These have moved Chinese commodity futures and spot markets frequently in the past.

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