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BEIJING: Iron ore futures dropped on Tuesday as concerns over the indebted property sector in top consumer China countered optimism from the country’s recent efforts to contain a deepening crisis and shore up market confidence.

The most-traded May iron ore contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) ended daytime trade 1.76% lower at 979.5 yuan ($136.46) a metric ton, the lowest since Jan. 24.

The benchmark March iron ore on the Singapore Exchange was down 1.94% at $132.8 a ton, as of 0710 GMT, also the lowest since Jan. 24. Denting sentiment, concerns resurfaced over China’s struggling property market after a Hong Kong court on Monday ordered the liquidation of property giant China Evergrande Group , the world’s most indebted developer.

Adding downward pressure is also the thinning liquidity in the spot market as most mills completed pre-holiday restocking, said analysts. The retreat came after prices climbed to multi-week highs on Monday, helped by various measures to support the real estate market in the world’s second-largest economy.

China’s major southern city of Guangzhou fully relaxed home purchase limits for some people and would increase affordable housing supply, in a move to support the local property market.

Also, China’s central bank announced a deep cut to bank reserves last week, bolstering sentiment. Iron ore production in Vale, the world’s second-largest supplier, grew 4.3% in 2023, topping the Brazilian miner’s estimate for the year, while shipments of the commodity dipped.

Other steelmaking ingredients on the DCE also receded, with coking coal and coke down 2.21% and 2.54%, respectively. Steel benchmarks on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were weaker amid lower raw materials prices and diminishing demand. Rebar shed 1.39%, hot-rolled coil also declined 1.39%, wire rod fell 1.13% and stainless steel lost 0.88%.

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