July 8, 2019 / 3:03 AM / 3 months ago

China iron ore futures hold ground after steep fall

MANILA, July 8 (Reuters) - Dalian iron ore prices edged up in early trade on Monday after falling sharply late last week, even as stocks of the steelmaking raw material at China’s ports rose for the first time in three months.

Prices fell from more than five-year highs late last week after news that China’s top steel companies questioned whether “non-market factors” had caused a surge in iron ore prices and called on the government to maintain market stability.

Companies representing 30% of China’s steel output, including China Baowu Group, HBIS Group, Jiangsu Shagang Group and Ansteel Group, have formed a group to look ito the pricing of iron ore and work with futures exchanges.

The most-active September iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was up 0.7% at 850.5 yuan ($123.39) a tonne as of 0221 GMT. It was still down nearly 7 percent from a record high of 911.5 yuan hit on July 3.

The surge in both spot and futures prices of iron ore has added to the concerns of steelmakers already facing the possibility of a downturn in demand as the global economy weakens, hurt by the U.S.-Sino trade war.


* Benchmark spot iron ore with 62% fines for delivery to China SH-CCN-IRNOR62 fell 4.1% to $117.50 a tonne on Friday following news that executives from eight of China’s biggest steel mills gathered on June 27 to discuss the surge in prices.

* The spot price, based on data tracked by SteelHome consultancy, had jumped to as high as $126.50 a tonne on July 3, its highest in about 5-and-a-half years, boosting its 2019 gains to 71%.

* Analysts have attributed the rallies in spot and futures prices of iron ore mainly to concerns about tight supplies amid reduced exports from top producers Australia and Brazil.

* Iron ore stocked at China’s ports rose to 115.60 million tonnes as of July 5, SteelHome data showed SH-TOT-IRONINV, rebounding from previous week’s 115.25 million tonnes, the lowest level since early 2017.

* The most-active construction steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged down 0.2% to 4,007 yuan a tonne. Hot rolled coil, steel used in cars and home appliances, slipped 0.2% to 3,870 yuan.

* Other steelmaking inputs were mixed, with Dalian coking coal up 0.4% at 1,374.50 yuan a tonne, while coke dropped 1.0% to 2,125 yuan.

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* Asian shares slipped on Monday as investors wagered on a less aggressive policy easing in the United States, while the Turkish lira held near two-week lows after the country’s president dismissed its central bank governor over the weekend.

($1 = 6.8925 yuan)

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; editing by Richard Pullin

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