November 7, 2019 / 3:27 AM / 10 days ago

China iron ore futures edge down tracking weak spot prices

* Spot 62% iron ore hits lowest since Jan. 29 - SteelHome

* Court could annul Vale acquisition of Ferrous Resources

* Indonesia ore ban seen hitting stainless steel output

By Enrico Dela Cruz

MANILA, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Benchmark Dalian iron ore futures slipped in early trade on Thursday as rising inventories at China’s ports kept physical prices under pressure, though losses were capped by restocking demand from some steel mills.

Dalian Commodity Exchange’s most-traded iron ore, for delivery in January 2020, dropped 0.9% to 619.50 yuan ($88.54) a tonne.

Benchmark spot 62% iron ore cargoes for delivery to China SH-CCN-IRNOR62 was steady at $83.50 a tonne on Wednesday, the weakest since Jan. 29 this year, based on data compiled by SteelHome consultancy.

Spot prices of the steelmaking raw material are closing in on levels seen before the Jan. 25 collapse of a mine tailings dam in Brazil owned by Vale SA, which sparked a five-month rally in prices that peaked in July at a five-year high.

Imported iron ore inventory at Chinese ports is hovering around a six-month high, estimated at 131.65 million tonnes, as of last Friday, based on SteelHome data. SH-TOT-IRONINV

Market participants shrugged off news saying that a Brazilian federal court could annul Vale’s acquisition of midsize iron ore miner Ferrous Resources until certain environmental compliance documents have been provided.

Vale said in August that it had to temporarily halt operations at the Viga concentration plant of its newly acquired Ferrous Resources do Brasil unit due to “inconsistency in the documents.”

Notwithstanding the pressure from stabilising supply from top exporters Brazil and Australia, iron ore prices should find support as steel margins have improved, said analysts at ANZ Research in a note.

“Steel mills have been reluctant to restock raw materials as margins fell amid a gloomy outlook for steel demand,” they said. “However, margins have started rising again, raising the spectre of some pent up demand coming through the iron ore market.”

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-traded construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was 0.1% higher at 3,448 yuan a tonne by 0232 GMT.

* Hot-rolled steel coil, used in cars and home appliances, was little changed at 3,395 yuan a tonne.

* Dalian coking coal was steady at 1,242.50 yuan a tonne, while Dalian coke edged down 0.1% to 1,761 yuan.

* Shanghai stainless steel, which is produced from nickel pig iron (NPI), was flat at 14,920 yuan a tonne.

* A ban on nickel ore exports from Indonesia will sharply reduce top buyer China’s NPI output and have a knock-on effect on production of the corrosion-resistant metal itself, analysts said on Wednesday.

($1 = 6.9968 yuan)

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Aditya Soni

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