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Markets

Iron ore tumbles over 5% as China port stocks hit 4-month peak

  • The most-traded iron ore for January delivery on China's Dalian Commodity Exchange dropped as much as 5.6% to 731 yuan ($113.26) a tonne, its weakest since Feb. 4
Published September 6, 2021

Iron ore prices tumbled more than 5% on Monday, with the Dalian benchmark hitting its lowest in seven months, on rising portside stocks of the steelmaking ingredient in China due to increased shipments and weak domestic demand.

The most-traded iron ore for January delivery on China's Dalian Commodity Exchange dropped as much as 5.6% to 731 yuan ($113.26) a tonne, its weakest since Feb. 4.

Iron ore's most-active October contract on the Singapore Exchange shed as much as 5.1% to $135.70 a tonne, its lowest since Aug. 24.

China aims for iron ore output boost of 100mn tonnes by 2025

Imported iron ore stocked at ports in China, the world's top steel producer, climbed to 131.40 million tonnes last week, the highest since end-April, SteelHome consultancy data showed.

Spot iron ore in China tumbled to $145.50 a tonne on Friday, the weakest since Aug. 23, from $156 a week earlier, SteelHome data showed.

Iron ore prices have fallen under the weight of "a monstrous 4-million tonne" increase in weekly shipment from Australia in the last week of August, according to Atilla Widnell, managing director at Singapore-based Navigate Commodities.

Chinese iron ore producers' plan to increase their domestic output by more than 100 million tonnes between 2021 and 2025 also added some pressure on prices, he said.

Some industry data showing China's weekly steel output had increased may have also prompted the continued iron ore sell-off, Widnell said.

"Increasing steel output occasionally has a counter-intuitive effect on iron ore prices given that retail investors sell the feedstock as they expect steel margins to compress," he said.

In sharp contrast, other steelmaking ingredients extended their record-setting rallies on supply concerns.

Dalian coking coal jumped 7.7% to a life-high 2,818 yuan a tonne. Coke climbed 4.8%.

Rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 1.5%, while hot-rolled coil gained 1.8%. Stainless steel gained 6.8% to hit a five-week high.

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