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MANILA: Chinese iron ore futures scaled a one-week high on Friday and were set for a fourth consecutive weekly gain, as hopes for additional stimulus to shore up the world’s top steel producer eclipsed worries over COVID-19 curbs and global uncertainties.

China’s economic tsar, Vice Premier Liu He, this week called for the roll-out of market-friendly policies to support the world’s second biggest economy and top metals consumer, amid worries over the local COVID-19 surge and hit to global trade from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Separately, China’s central bank governor, Yi Gang, pledged to take initiatives in monetary policy, increase new lending and adamantly support the economy.

“The door to domestic RRR (reserve requirements ratio) cuts and interest rate cuts has not yet been closed, and more easing policies are expected to be introduced in the future,” analysts at Huatai Futures said in a note.

The most-traded iron ore, for May delivery, on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange rose as much as 3.7% to 835 yuan ($131.44) a tonne, its highest since March 11.

Dalian iron ore peaked this year at 874.50 yuan a tonne on March 8, before traders trimmed positions on worries over China’s biggest COVID-19 outbreak since the one that originated in Wuhan in 2020.

On the Singapore Exchange, iron ore’s most-active April contract rose 2.9% to $152.90 a tonne, but was headed for a weekly loss.

In China’s spot market, benchmark 62%-grade iron ore was steady at $146.50 a tonne on Thursday, after rising for the first time in a week, according to SteelHome consultancy data.

Construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 0.4% and was set for its third straight weekly rise, while hot-rolled coil climbed 0.9%. Stainless steel slipped 0.1%.

Dalian coking coal jumped as much as 5.3% to its highest since March 11, while coke advanced 3.4%.

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