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SHANGHAI: Dalian iron ore futures prices extended gains into a second consecutive session on Wednesday, helped by renewed hopes of demand recovery in top buyer China following an improving steel market, although persistent worries about its embattled property market capped gains.

The most-traded May iron ore contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) ended morning trade 1.14% higher at 889.5 yuan ($123.56) a metric ton.

“Expectations of stronger construction activity grew. Domestic construction sites have reopened following the Lunar New Year holiday and are looking to take advantage of the better margins following iron ore’s recent decline,” analysts at ANZ bank said in a note. Lifting market sentiment is also the improved steel market, analysts said.

Transaction volumes of construction steel products among Chinese traders surveyed grew by 98.3% day-on-day to 106,700 tons on Tuesday, data from consultancy Mysteel showed.

“Whether steelmakers will show more interest in restocking ore in coming days will depend on to what extent steel demand will recover,” analysts at Huatai Futures said in a note. The benchmark March iron ore on the Singapore Exchange was, however, 1.63% lower at $115.60 a ton, as of 03221 GMT, dragged down by persistent concerns over the beleagured property market, the largest steel consumer in the world’s second-largest economy.

Country Garden Holdings said on Wednesday a liquidation petition has been filed against the embattled developer for non-payment of a loan worth $205 million, adding to the woes for China’s liquidity crisis-hit property sector.

Other steelmaking ingredients on the DCE rose, with coking coal and coke up 1.87% and 0.89%, respectively. Steel benchmarks on the Shanghai Futures Exchange broadly ticked up. Rebar gained 0.82%, hot-rolled coil climbed 0.59%, stainless steel rose 0.78% while wire rod shed 0.79%.

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