Iron ore, steel futures rise on China stimulus

Madiha Shakeel August 19, 2019

MANILA: Dalian and Singapore iron ore futures rose on Monday, buoyed along with other Asian steel benchmarks as fresh moves by China’s central bank to prop up its slowing economy lifted the overall mood in financial markets.

The most-traded iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, with January 2020 expiry, climbed as much as 2.2% to 636.50 yuan ($90.38) a tonne, rebounding from a recent slump.

The most-active September 2019 iron ore futures contract on the Singapore Exchange rose as much as 1.8% to $88.37 a tonne.

China’s central bank unveiled a key interest rate reform on Saturday to help steer borrowing costs lower for companies and support a slowing economy that has been hurt by a trade war with the United States.

The reform is equivalent to making a loan rate cut of 45 basis points, according to ANZ Research’s estimate.

“The decline in loan rates bodes well for China’s credit demand and growth outlook in H2 2019 to offset the impact of the ongoing trade disputes,” ANZ said in a note.

The reform comes as a slowing Chinese economy has clouded the outlook for demand for iron ore and other steelmaking ingredients in the world’s top steel producer and consumer.

Dalian iron ore posted its fourth consecutive loss on a weekly basis on Friday, also pressured by rising stockpiles of seaborne supplies at ports across China.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The inventory of imported iron ore at Chinese ports was estimated at 123.15 million tonnes as of Aug. 16, climbing for a fifth week to its highest since the last week of May, based on the latest data from SteelHome consultancy. <SH-TOT-IRONINV>

* Benchmark spot 62% iron ore for delivery to China <SH-CCN-IRNOR62> was steady at $91.50 a tonne on Friday, having rebounded from its lowest in more than four months, hit early last week.

* The construction steel rebar index on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up as much as 0.9% at 3,749 yuan a tonne.

* Hot-rolled coil, steel used in cars and home appliances, jumped as much as 0.5% to 3,742 yuan a tonne.

* Coking coal gained as much as 1.0% to 1,344 yuan a tonne, while and coke edged up 0.8% to 1,999 yuan.

Copyright Reuters, 2019

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