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BEIJING: Iron ore futures rose for a second straight session on Thursday, underpinned by heightened expectations of growing demand in top consumer China on the back of improved downstream demand and steel margins.

The most-traded September iron ore contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) ended daytime trade 3.07% higher at 874 yuan ($120.75) a metric ton, refreshing a more than one-month high achieved on Wednesday with a rise of more than 4%.

The benchmark May iron ore on the Singapore Exchange was 0.52% higher at $116.45 a ton as of 0718 GMT, the highest since Mar. 8, following an increase of more than 5% a day before.

“Driver for this round of price rally is a quicker-than-expected destock of construction steel products... and this also lifted expectations of production restarts and replenishment of raw materials among steelmakers,” analysts at Jinrui Futures said in a note. “Steel demand will increase further with the accelerated pace of special bond issuance and further progress of the equipment upgrade in the second quarter.”

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