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Singapore iron ore futures rebounded on Wednesday after briefly dipping below $100 per metric ton, while the Dalian contract posted marginal gains on concerns over China’s steel output curbs.

The most-active September iron ore contract on the Singapore Exchange was up 1.5% at $101.75 per metric ton, as of 0432 GMT, after falling 0.8% to $99.50 earlier in the session.

The steelmaking ingredient’s most-traded January contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange ended morning trading 0.2% higher at 724 yuan ($100.44) per metric ton in range-bound trading.

Top steel producer China’s policy to cap 2023 output at last year’s level “will make steel mills more cautious in raw material procurement”, Huatai Futures analysts said in a note.

Chinese steel benchmarks, however, were weaker.

Rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dipped 0.4%, hot-rolled coil edged down 0.2%, wire rod lost 0.7%, and stainless steel dropped 0.5%.

Steel demand in China is expected to remain weak in August, consultancy Mysteel said in its weekly outlook.

The inventory of five key steel products in 247 Chinese steel mills continued to rise, not only because of reduced demand caused by adverse weather conditions but also due to ongoing price weakness in the spot market, it said.

Iron ore retreats on weak China trade data

“Iron ore prices are expected to fluctuate next week driven by the rising demand as steel mills in (China’s production hub) Tangshan City resumed production and the expected downward trend of global shipment for iron ore,” Mysteel said.

“Yet the anticipation of a decrease in hot metal output in China is expected to take the iron ore prices down.”

Prices of other steelmaking ingredients were also firmer, with coking coal and coke on the Dalian exchange up 1.7% and 0.6%, respectively.

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