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BEIJING: Iron ore futures prices were range-bound on Friday but were heading for a second weekly gain on the back of lingering hopes of growing demand in top consumer China thanks to a flurry of property stimulus.

The most-traded September iron ore contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) ended daytime trade 0.44% lower at 908 yuan ($125.33) a metric ton, posting an increase of 2.6% week-on-week. The benchmark June iron ore on the Singapore Exchange was 1% higher at $120.75 a ton, as of 0738 GMT, a rise of 2.9% so far this week.

“The overall sentiment remained positive underpinned by the latest property stimulus policies,” analysts at Huatai Futures said in a note. China announced “historic” steps last Friday to stabilise its crisis-hit property sector, aiming to clear inventory and boost homebuyer demand, with several cities lowering downpayment and mortgage loan interest rates as a response.

Also, cash-strapped major property developer China Vanke said on Thursday it had received a 20 billion yuan syndicated loan facility. Prices of the key steelmaking ingredient felt downward pressure in the prior day and were moving within a tight range on Friday as investors and traders were reassessing the near-term demand prospects after the latest hot metal output missed expectations while portside stocks continued to pile up.

Average daily hot metal output among steelmaker surveyed halted a seven-week increase to hover at 2.37 million tons as of May 24, while portside ore stocks rose by 0.3% on the week to around 148.55 million tons, data from consultancy Mysteel showed.

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