* Shanghai rebar pulls back after hitting 3-year high
* China home price growth cools for 4th straight month
By Manolo Serapio Jr
MANILA, Feb 22 Chinese iron ore futures edged
lower on Wednesday, but stayed near a record high, amid firm
demand for high-grade material that has helped push spot prices
to a 30-month peak near $100 a tonne.
A strong Chinese steel market has spurred a rally in iron
ore, with mills seeking high-quality cargoes to improve
productivity to chase rising prices.
"Demand for steel is quite good and mills are all making
good profit at the moment so they have strong demand especially
for high-grade iron ore," said an iron ore trader in Shanghai.
"Mills want to produce as much steel as possible in order to
catch up with the strong market."
The most-active iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange
was off 0.7 percent at 722.50 yuan ($105) a tonne by
midday, after a two-day surge that lifted the contract to as
high as 741.50 yuan on Tuesday, its highest level since launch
in October 2013.
Rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slipped 1.5
percent to 3,537 yuan per tonne. The construction steel product
touched a three-year high of 3,630 yuan in the prior session.
In a sign that traders continue to stock up on steel
products ahead of spring when they expect demand from
construction to pick up, inventories of rebar in China reached
8.3977 million tonnes on Feb. 17, the most since April 2014,
according to SteelHome consultancy. SH-TOT-RBARINV
On Tuesday, iron ore for delivery to China's Qingdao port
.IO62-CNO=MB rose 2.7 percent to $94.86 a tonne, according to
It was the strongest level since August 2014 for the spot
benchmark which has gained more than 20 percent this year,
outpacing copper and nickel.
The sustained increase in spot rebar prices has "led to
trading activity thinning, however, with a marked drop in
confidence observed among buyers in the construction sector,"
Metal Bulletin said.
The growth in China's home prices slowed for the fourth
straight month as demand cooled further in the biggest cities,
official data showed on Wednesday, signalling government curbs
to defuse a bubble in the sector were starting to pay off.
Stockpiles of imported iron ore at major Chinese ports
reached 127.55 million tonnes, the highest since SteelHome
tracked the data in 2004. SH-TOT-IRONINV
($1 = 6.8790 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Sunil Nair)