* Dalian iron ore up nearly 7% in July
* Singapore iron ore steadies after six-day rally
* Australia ships record iron ore volume in June
By Enrico Dela Cruz
MANILA, July 10 (Reuters) - Iron ore futures edged higher on Friday, putting China’s benchmark contract on track for its biggest weekly gain since mid-May, as optimism grew over prospects of demand in the world’s top producer and consumer of steel products.
The most-traded iron ore for September delivery on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange ended the morning session 0.4% higher at 794.50 yuan ($113.55) a tonne. It has risen about 7% so far in July, after a post-lockdown gain of 29% in the second quarter.
Friday’s gains, however, looked fragile as prices seesawed after Australian port data showed shipments of iron ore to China from the world’s top export hub of Port Hedland climbed in June to a record of 46.2 million tonnes.
Iron ore’s August contract on the Singapore Exchange was almost unchanged at $103.18 a tonne after six straight sessions of gains.
This week, the spot price of benchmark ore with 62% iron content scaled its highest in 11 months, to $107 a tonne on Thursday, according to data from SteelHome consultancy. SH-CCN-IRNOR62
“Iron ore drew support from strong China demand, together with supply disruptions in Brazil linked to COVID-19 restrictions on activity at some mines,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank, citing higher commodity prices’ support for the Australian dollar.
* June iron ore shipments from Port Hedland, used by three of Australia’s top four iron ore miners, rose by 7% from May’s 43.18 million tonnes, and were up 10% from the same month last year.
* Construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged down 0.1% after a six-session rally, while hot-rolled coil was steady after a five-day advance.
* Stainless steel lost 0.3%.
* Coking coal and coke also retreated, down 0.7% and 1.6%, respectively.
($1 = 6.9967 yuan)
Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu