* Dalian iron ore futures drop for third week in four
* BMI Research cuts iron ore price forecasts
* Shanghai rebar down for fourth straight day
By Manolo Serapio Jr
MANILA, May 26 Spot iron ore prices were on
course to post their third weekly fall in four, still pressured
by plentiful supply in top consumer China and a retreat in
Chinese steel prices.
Spot iron ore has largely tracked losses in Chinese steel
futures which dropped for a fourth consecutive session on Friday
and posted its third weekly fall in four.
Iron ore for delivery to China's Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB
slipped 0.5 percent to $60.24 a tonne on Thursday, according to
Metal Bulletin, and has fallen 3.9 percent so far this week.
The spot benchmark has dropped from a high of $94.86 a tonne
in February as stockpiles of the steelmaking raw material at
China's ports reached a 13-year high, underlining slow demand.
Speculative pressure in China's futures exchange has also
dragged down iron ore prices, analysts at National Australia
Bank (NAB) said in a note.
"That speculative pressure - rather than underlying
fundamentals - appears to be driving prices at the present time
and increases the risk of price volatility in the short term,"
they said in a report.
The most-active iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity
Exchange closed down 0.7 percent at 454 yuan ($66) a
tonne, and dropped about 5 percent for the week.
Stockpiles of imported iron ore at China's ports reached 136
million tonnes last week, the most since 2004, according to
SteelHome consultancy. SH-TOT-IRONINV
"Weaker prospects for Chinese steel producers from domestic
and international markets should limit upside pressure to iron
ore spot prices," said NAB analysts. The bank expects iron ore
to average $68 a tonne this year and $60 in 2018.
BMI Research has cut its iron ore price estimates, to $65 in
2017 from $70 previously and to $50 in 2018 from $55.
BMI said it anticipates the "Chinese government's fiscal
support to the infrastructure and construction sectors will cool
off earlier in 2017 than we previously expected."
The most-active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange
ended 0.4 percent lower at 3,240 yuan a tonne,
declining for a fourth day in a row.
($1 = 6.8577 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)