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MANILA: China’s ferrous futures fell on Monday, pressured by mounting domestic steel stocks and rising portside iron ore inventory, indicating a slow recovery in demand even as the latest indicators point to a rebounding economy.

The most-traded May iron ore on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange ended morning trade 0.7% lower at 854.50 yuan ($125.07) a tonne. On the Singapore Exchange, the steelmaking ingredient’s benchmark March contract was down 2.2% at $124.72 a tonne, as of 0431 GMT.

On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, rebar shed 0.8%, while other steel benchmarks also dropped. Hot-rolled coil dipped 0.6%, wire rod lost 0.8%, and stainless steel slipped 0.5%.

“Industrial metals markets will need to wait for February and March economic data to get a true sense on health of the Chinese economy,” Navigate Commodities Managing Director Atilla Widnell said.

Traders were cautious despite data showing new bank loans in China jumped more than expected to a record 4.9 trillion yuan ($717.21 billion) in January, while new home sales in 16 Chinese cities rose for the second straight week.

“The profits of steel mills have not improved,” Huatai Futures analysts said in a note. “The continuous increase in inventory will cause short-term adjustments in finished product prices.”

Steel inventories held by Chinese traders, which have been steadily rising since late December, increased further by 1.5 million tonnes over Feb. 3-9, according to Mysteel consultancy’s latest stocks survey.

Meanwhile, portside iron ore inventory climbed last week to 138.5 million tonnes, the highest since mid-September, SteelHome consultancy data showed.

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