SINGAPORE: Dalian iron ore futures slid almost 2% on Friday, weighed down by dismal demand outlook in top steel producer China, although prices were on track for a weekly gain on prospects of further stimulus for the economy.

The most-traded iron ore on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 1.9% to 732 yuan ($105.90) a tonne, as of 0221 GMT. The benchmark iron ore contract on the Singapore Exchange was 2.3% lower at $104.40 a tonne.

“China’s property indicators are not showing a sustainable recovery,” ANZ said in a note.

“Property sales and completed projects have picked up, but new starts are contracting. Various supportive measures have failed to stimulate real estate investment.”

China’s new home prices rose for the fourth straight month in April but at a slower pace, heightening fears that pent-up demand after the country’s economic reopening is fading.

China’s April industrial output and retail sales growth undershot forecasts, suggesting the economy lost momentum at the beginning of the second quarter and intensifying pressure on policymakers to shore up a wobbly post-COVID recovery.

China will take more targeted measures to expand domestic demand and stabilise external demand in an effort to promote a sustained economic rebound, Premier Li Qiang was quoted by state radio as saying on Thursday.

For the week, Dalian iron ore has gained more than 5%, while prices in Singapore have risen 7.4%. Low inventories at Chinese steel mills provided some support to iron ore prices earlier this week.

A survey of 114 mills showed the inventory of imported sintered ore fell for a third consecutive week, including a near 1% week-on-week decline to 24.19 million tonnes as of May 18, according to consultancy Mysteel.

That brings the total decline in inventories since late April to 7.6%, according to Reuters calculation based on Mysteel data. The most-active rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 1.5%, hot-rolled coil lost 1% and stainless steel dropped 1.1%. Among other steelmaking ingredients, coking coal lost nearly 5% and coke gave up 3.5%.


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