The epic rally in iron ore has hit a stumbling block

Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images

Iron ore spot markets continued to resemble a game of snakes and ladders on Tuesday, tumbling lower only a day after hitting the highest level since October 2014.

According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines slumped by 2.5% to $81.55 a tonne, partially reversing the 3.9% gain seen on Monday.

It was the largest percentage decline since January 6, and was the fifth session in the past seven where a daily movement of more than 1.2% was recorded.

Both lower and higher grade ores also softened, although the losses were slightly smaller than those witnessed in the benchmark price.

Metal Bulletin said that the move in iron ore followed similar weakness in Chinese steel prices, continuing the pattern of iron ore mimicking the movements in steel prices seen in recent months.

“China’s spot rebar prices lost their upward momentum on Tuesday with those in the eastern region weakening amid soft end-user demand,” said Metal Bulletin.

“A number of end users have stopped procuring rebar ahead of the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday, which starts at the end of next week.”

Offering no clue as to how spot markets will likely fare on Wednesday, Chinese iron ore futures closed up 0.31% at 648 yuan in overnight trade, above Tuesday’s lows but still well below the highs struck earlier in the week.

Separately, rebar futures added 0.69%, closing at 3,349 yuan, while both coke and coking coal futures continued to slide, dropping 2.14% apiece.

  • SHFE Copper ¥46,480 , -2.06%
  • SHFE Aluminium ¥13,415 , -0.30%
  • SHFE Zinc ¥22,275 , -0.07%
  • SHFE Nickel ¥84,920 , -1.19%
  • SHFE Rebar ¥3,349 , 0.69%
  • DCE Iron Ore ¥648.00 , 0.31%
  • DCE Coking Coal ¥1,235.50 , -2.14%
  • DCE Coke ¥1,690.00 , -2.14%
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