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NEW DELHI: Iron ore futures were mixed on Thursday, with the Dalian benchmark extending gains to a third session on expectations of a boost to the Chinese economy following the central bank’s stimulus move, while Singapore prices drifted lower.

The most traded May iron ore contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) ended daytime trade 1.6% higher at 987 yuan ($137.80) a metric ton.

It had briefly touched its highest level since Jan. 9 at 997 yuan. People’s Bank of China Governor Pan Gongsheng said on Wednesday the bank would cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for all banks by 50 basis points (bps), adding that the move would free up 1 trillion yuan ($139.45 billion) to the market.

“The iron ore market was also swept up in the optimism following the cut to China’s RRR,” ANZ Research said in a note. “Futures rallied more than 2% on hopes it would boost activity in the country’s construction sector. This comes as inventory data suggests demand remains weak.”

Separately, Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group said on Thursday it will work with the Chinese authorities to resolve a delay that has held up customs clearance of some iron ore cargoes at a port in the country’s north.

The benchmark February iron ore on the Singapore Exchange was 0.07% lower at $135.10 a ton, as of 0747 GMT.

Other steelmaking ingredients on the DCE were mixed, with coking coal down 0.24% and coke up 0.30%. Steel benchmarks on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were higher. Rebar was up 0.69%, hot-rolled coil advanced 0.79%, wire rod added 1.33% and stainless steel edged 0.31% lower.

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