Iron ore futures in China rose for a third straight day on Thursday, and at one point hit the highest level in almost three years, supported by firmer steel prices in the world’s top consumer.
Both iron ore and steel came off the day’s peaks, but the recovery in futures from last week’s slide had lifted the price of spot iron ore by nearly 8 percent in two days as physical buyers chased higher prices.
The most-traded January iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed up 2.4 percent at 622 yuan ($90) a tonne, after rising as much as 8.4 percent to 658.50 yuan, its loftiest since February 2014.
The contract rose by its 6-percent and 9-percent trade limits on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The exchange set the limit for Thursday at 11 percent.
China’s steel capacity closures have helped tighten supply, spurring steel prices higher and dragging raw material prices with them, said ANZ commodity strategist Daniel Hynes.
Fresh anti-pollution measures in Tangshan, which accounts for around 12 percent of China’s total steel output, could push steel prices higher, he said.
Tangshan in China’s northern Hebei province has ordered many of its industrial factories, including steel mills, to curb production or even close for as long as four months through to March in a bid to clear the skies of smog.
The price of construction steel product rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended 1.3 percent higher at 2,951 yuan a tonne, also rising for a third session, but was below the day’s peak of 3,012 yuan.
The risk of supply disruptions from top iron ore exporter Australia could keep the price of the steelmaking raw material elevated in the short term, said Hynes.
“Forecasts for an above-average number of cyclones in Western Australia could hit iron ore exports,” he wrote in a report. Over the past 12 years, Australia’s iron ore exports have dropped an average of 5.4 percent in January-March from the previous quarter, he said.
“With the spectre of increased disruptions and a subsequently tighter market, steel mills are likely to continue restocking in the short term,” Hynes said.
Iron ore for delivery to China’s Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB rose 1.3 percent to $75.87 a tonne on Wednesday, according to Metal Bulletin. That brought its two-day gain to 7.9 percent.
Rio Tinto would not hesitate to cut its iron ore production if that would help boost its free cash flow and the company is not chasing market share, CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques said.
Source: ReutersPrevious Next