MANILA: Dalian iron ore futures slipped on Tuesday, as despite beating expectations, weak economic data from top steel producer China dented demand sentiment.

The most-traded May iron ore on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 1.3% to 835.0 yuan ($123.81) a tonne as of 0215 GMT. On the Singapore Exchange, the benchmark February iron ore was up 0.4% at $119.85 a tonne.

China’s economy hit a bump in the fourth quarter, growing by 2.9% year-on-year, National Bureau of Statistics data showed on Tuesday, beating expectations but still underlining the toll exacted by a stringent “zero-COVID” policy.

The top steel producer produced 77.89 million tonnes of crude steel in December, rising 4.5% month-on-month, although down 9.8 % for the year. The country’s property investment fell 10.0% year-on-year in 2022, the first decline since records began in 1999, compared with a decline of 9.8% in the first 11 months of the year.

Noting further comments from China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which given iron ore still managed to rally over 6% since their previous comments, it is perhaps not surprising that the NDRC is making further moves to cap prices, according to a note from commodities broker Marex. This is in reference to China’s state planner on Jan. 6 announcing that it would ramp up efforts to regulate prices of iron ore and crack down on malicious speculation of the metal.

Asia shares mostly slipped after Beijing released weak fourth-quarter economic data, although investors’ expectations for a strong China rebound remained strong even as the global economy edges closer to recession.

The most-active rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange inched 0.02% higher, hot-rolled coil edged up 0.1%, wire rod rose 0.3%, and stainless steel climbed 1.1%. Dalian coking coal inched 0.03% higher and coke rose 1.6%.


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