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MANILA: Iron ore futures climbed more than 5% on Monday to hit their highest in over a month, as top steel producer China vowed to keep fine-tuning Covid-19 containment rules and laid out support measures for its struggling real estate sector.

Steel demand prospects in China improved, following Friday’s announcement of some changes to Covid-19 rules, with a Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention researcher saying further adjustments in quarantine measures would not be ruled out.

On Sunday, two sources told Reuters a notice to financial institutions from the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission had outlined 16 steps to support property developers. The most-traded January iron ore on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange climbed up to 5.5% to 735.50 yuan ($104.00) a tonne, its highest since Oct. 11.

On the Singapore Exchange, the steelmaking ingredient’s benchmark December contract rose 5.2% to $96 a tonne, its strongest since Sept. 28.

China’s moves follow recent indicators pointing to deteriorating domestic economic conditions due to Covid-19 curbs and external headwinds. “The moves will clearly provide some further support to China’s economy, though have to be factored in against the rising Covid case numbers being seen across the country,” said Robert Carnell, ING Asia-Pacific head of research.

Market moves remained largely driven by sentiment, with weak fundamentals ignored, including gloomy economic data and rising iron ore inventories. “Negative data, fundamentals and news flow appear to be heavily discounted with markets scouring for positive signs of an eventual China ‘COV-exit’,” said Navigate Commodities Managing Director Atilla Widnell. Dalian coking coal and coke was up 2.4% and 2.2%, respectively, as of 0254 GMT.

On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, rebar rose 1.7%, hot-rolled coil gained 1.6%, wire rod advanced 0.7%, while stainless steel dipped 1.9%.

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