Iron ore hits a 6-month high

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  • The benchmark iron ore spot price surged on Tuesday, closing at the highest level since mid-March.
  • Speculation that Chinese policymakers may look to stimulate the domestic economy given an escalation in trade tensions with the United States, along with data revealing Chinese iron ore output fell to the lowest level since early 2010 last month, may have contributed to the move.
  • Chinese iron ore and steel futures continued to push higher in overnight trade on Tuesday.

The benchmark iron ore spot price surged on Tuesday, closing at a six-month high.

However, the strength did not flow through to lower or higher grades during the session.

According to Metal Bulletin, the price for 62% fines jumped 2.5% to $69.82 a tonne, leaving it at the highest level since March 16.

In percentage terms it was the largest one-day gain since May 30, extending the rally from August 30 to 6%.

The gain may reflect speculation that Chinese policymakers will look to support the domestic economy following an escalation in trade tensions with the United States.

“Investors expect a cut in banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR), which would bolster liquidity in the market and drive up prices across commodities,” an unnamed Shanghai-based iron ore trader told Reuters.

“People are waiting to see if macro-economic policy will shift.”

Data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics showing domestic iron ore production fell to the lowest level since February 2010 in August may have also provided support.

Despite the strength in the benchmark, the move was not reflective of those seen in other grades.

The price of 65% fines closed up 0.1% at $96.50 a tonne while 58% fines slumped 2.5% to $39.57 a tonne.

The gains in mid and higher grades mirrored similar strength in Chinese steel and iron ore futures on Tuesday.

Rebar futures in Shanghai finished at 4,167 yuan, up 1.4% from Monday’s day session close. That helped to support iron ore futures in Dalian which closed at 506.5 yuan, up 1% on the levels of a day earlier.

Coking coal and coke contracts also inched higher, closing at 1,298 and 2,292 yuan respectively.

Hinting that spot markets may continue to climb on Wednesday, all contracts except for coking coal rose further in overnight trade.

Here’s the closing scoreboard.

SHFE Rebar ¥4,186 , 1.33%
DCE Iron Ore ¥510.00 , 1.29%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,295.50 , 0.19%
DCE Coke ¥2,329.00 , 2.26%

Trade in Chinese commodity futures will resume at 11am AEST.

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