MANILA: Iron ore stretched a rally into a fifth straight session on Thursday, with the benchmark Dalian contract scaling a three-week high while spot prices rose above $100 a tonne, buoyed by improved sentiment towards China’s property sector.

The most-traded January iron ore contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange climbed up to 4.8% to 629 yuan ($98.46) a tonne, its highest level since Nov. 2.

Benchmark 62%-grade iron ore’s spot price in China jumped to $100.50 a tonne on Wednesday, also the strongest since Nov. 2, according to SteelHome consultancy data.

On the Singapore Exchange, the steelmaking ingredient’s front-month December contract traded 3% higher at $106.10 a tonne.

“Iron ore futures rallied on expectations of a turnaround in the demand outlook,” commodity strategists at ANZ wrote in a note. “Markets have been buoyed by strong Chinese announcements, including more support for its property sector.”

Some Chinese banks had been told by financial regulators to issue more loans to property firms for project development, Reuters reported on Monday citing two banking sources, in efforts to marginally ease liquidity strains across the industry.

Concerns about the debt problems of Chinese property developers, a sector that accounts for about a quarter of the domestic steel demand, had recently added downward pressure on prices of iron ore in the world’s biggest steel producer.

Adding to the positive mood, China’s Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd said it wants to extend the maturity of a $400 million bond by a year and a half as its seeks to avoid a messy default and resolve a liquidity crisis.

Construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 0.4%, while hot-rolled coil advanced 1%. Stainless steel added 0.2%.

Dalian coking coal surged as much as 8.5% to its highest since Nov. 12, while coke rose 1.7%.


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