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Iron ore futures stable in year-end holiday trade; steel futures up China
Times:[ 2019-12-31 Author:admin Hit:

Benchmark Dalian iron ore futures pulled back from a two-week high to finish flat after sluggish trade on Monday as the year-end holiday season prompted market participants to remain on the sidelines.

The Dalian Commodity Exchange's most-traded iron ore contract, with May 2020 expiry, settled at 641.50 yuan (USD 91.86) a ton, surrendering early gains from steel mills' restocking demand for the raw material.

On the Singapore Exchange, the front-month January contract also reversed early gains and was down 0.2pct to USD 89.93 a ton in afternoon trade.

The pullback came after data showed imported iron ore inventory at China's ports climbed for the second week in a row.

Gains in steel futures, however, provided support to iron ore prices, buoyed after data last week showed industrial profits in China grew at the fastest pace in eight months in November.

Prices for spot cargoes of benchmark iron ore with 62pct iron content for delivery to China settled at USD 92 a ton on Friday, down from USD 93 a week ago.

Iron ore prices have pulled back after hitting a peak of USD 126.50 in July.

Shipments into top steel producer China have picked up in recent months, though iron ore prices are still on track to post an annual gain of around 140pct, the best in three years.

"Expect further pressure on iron ore prices in 2020," analysts at ING said in a note. "More supplies from Brazil and higher shipments from Australia mean we're expecting a softening to USD 75/ton by the end of next year."

The inventory of imported iron ore at Chinese ports rose for a second straight week to 130.75 mln tons, as of Dec. 27, the highest since early November.

The most-traded construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged up 0.2pct, while hot-rolled steel coil was up 0.1pct. Shanghai stainless steel futures were up 0.7pct.

Dalian coking coal advanced 0.8pct, while Dalian coke edged up 0.1pct.