Iron ore prices rose on Friday, recovering from one-week lows hit in the previous session, as traders shifted focus away from the grim economic outlook for top steel producer China to possible additional stimulus measures to meet its growth target.
The most-traded iron ore, for September delivery, on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange ended the morning session 4.5% higher at 864 yuan ($128.29) a tonne.
The benchmark contract is set for its biggest weekly gain in two months, despite losses over the past three days.
On the Singapore Exchange, the most-active June contract for the steelmaking ingredient climbed 1.3% to $131.25 a tonne.
The mood swing followed an acknowledgement by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang this week of the weak economic growth, pointing out that difficulties in some aspects were worse than in 2020, when the economy was first hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.
But Li added that China will strive to achieve reasonable economic growth in the second quarter and stem rising unemployment.
Beijing announced a package of policy steps earlier this week, including broader tax credit rebates and postponing social security payments and loan repayments to support the economy.
“Iron ore prices edged higher as investors continue to look ahead to stimulus measures supporting demand,” said Daniel Hynes, a senior commodity strategist at ANZ.
“However, any plan to boost infrastructure spending won’t boost demand until steel production starts to rebound.” Other Dalian steel inputs also rebounded, with coking coal climbing 5% after a four-day sell-off, while coke also jumped 5% following a three-day slide.
Construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 2.7%, while hot-rolled coil gained 2%. Stainless steel advanced 0.4%.
Benchmark 62%-grade iron ore’s spot price for the China-bound material was stable at $130 a tonne over the last three days, up from $128.50 last week, SteelHome consultancy data showed.