Chinese iron ore, coke futures fall again on soft demand, high steel inventories

12 March 2018

Chinese iron ore futures declined for the seventh consecutive session to hit a nearly fourth-month low as steelmaking raw materials were pressured by soft demand for the metal and high product inventories held by trading companies.

Dalian iron ore futures tumbled more than 3 percent to an intraday low of 475.5 yuan ($75.12) a tonne, its deepest level since Nov. 20.

Iron ore was at 477.5 yuan a tonne by the midday break, down 3 percent.

The most active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange also dropped for a seventh straight session, with steel demand failing to pick up as quickly as expected after the week-long Chinese New Year break in February.

Rebar was 0.6 percent lower at 3,717 yuan a tonne at midday.

High inventories of steel rebar products, mainly used for construction, have prompted some traders to sell their stocks at a loss and driven down prices.

Stockpiles of rebar inventory held in warehouses by traders rose to 9.6362 million tonnes SH-TOT-RBARINV as of March 9, the highest since April 2013, Steelhome data showed.

“This all weighed on iron ore, with futures being sold heavily around Asia,” ANZ said in a research note.

“This bearish mood also weighed on coking coal prices. Premium hard coking coal fell sharply, as shrinking margins at steel mills reduced their appetite for coal. However, easing concerns about further weather-related supply issues also weighed on the market,” ANZ said.

On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, coke dropped more than 3 percent to 2,003.5 yuan a tonne, the lowest in more than a month. At the break, coke was down 3.2 percent at 2,013 yuan.

Coking coal was down 1.8 percent at 1,294 yuan a tonne at midday, after earlier hitting 1,285.5 yuan a tonne, the lowest since February.

Iron ore for delivery to China’s Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB dropped $3.14 a tonne to $70.09 a tonne last Friday from the previous day, according to Metal Bulletin.