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BEIJING: Iron ore futures fell on Friday for a fourth straight session, as concerns over China’s property sector weighed on demand and port inventories rose.

The most-traded September iron ore contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) declined 2.24% to 741.5 yuan a metric ton by 0410 GMT. The benchmark May iron ore on the Singapore Exchange was 1.92% lower at $99.10 a ton.

On Thursday, ratings agency Fitch cut its forecast for China’s housing market and said it now expects a 5%-10% fall in new home sales in 2024.

Country Garden, the country’s largest private property developer, on Thursday delayed the publication of its 2023 financial results.

Vanke, another major developer, reported a 50.6% drop in 2023 core profits.

Total stocks of imported iron ore at China’s major ports rose for a fourteenth consecutive week to reach 144.3 million tons on March 28, data from industry consultancy Mysteel showed. That represents the highest level since April 2022.

Imports from Brazil increased further, rising by 1.8% on the previous week, Mysteel said. Operating rates at China’s blast furnaces rose 0.81% over the last week, data from consultancy Steelhome indicated.

Other steelmaking ingredients on the DCE fell, with coking coal and coke down 3.59% and 2.82%, respectively.

Steel benchmarks on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slipped. Rebar was down 1.32%, hot-rolled coil dropped 1.81%, wire rod declined 1.59% and stainless steel slipped 0.15%.

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