Iron ore remains choppy and directionless

Photo: Michael Urban/AFP/Getty Images

Iron ore spot markets delivered up a proverbial dog’s breakfast on Monday with prices finishing mixed across the grades.

The benchmark spot price for 62% fines tumbled 2.05% to $77.15 a tonne, according to Metal Bulletin, completely reversing a similarly-sized gain on Friday.

Despite the weakness in the benchmark, that didn’t flow through to higher and lower grade ores during the session.

Ore with 65% Fe content added 0.5% to $101.20 a tonne while 58% fines rose by a smaller 0.1%, finishing trade at $50.06 a tonne.

The mixed performance followed a choppy session in Chinese rebar and iron ore futures on Monday.

Rebar futures on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 0.15% at 3,932 yuan while Dalian iron ore futures fell by 2.8% at 572.5 yuan. Both contracts started the day considerably lower, grinding higher over the course of trade.

The modest recovery followed news that Chinese iron ore port inventories continued to fall last week.

According to data from Shanghai Steelhome, inventories fell by a further 1.75 million tonnes to 133.45 million tonnes, extending the decline from the record-peak of 141.45 million tonnes struck in late June to 8 million tonnes.

Despite the rebound witnessed during Monday’s day session, both iron ore and rebar futures closed in overnight trade.

Here’s the scoreboard.

SHFE Rebar ¥3,918 , 0.95%
DCE Iron Ore ¥568.00 , -0.26%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,464.00 , -0.58%
DCE Coke ¥2,477.50 , 1.18%

The choppy price action in futures provides no clear signal as to what direction iron ore spot markets will move today.

Trade in Chinese commodity futures will resume at 11am AEST.

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