Sea-borne iron ore stayed above $76 mark

Sea-borne market was largely range bound around $76/mt mark towards the end of the week, as the demand for steelmaking raw materials was subdued ahead of the upcoming weeklong holidays in China, which in turn has also slowed down the steel production by the mills.

It can be noted that the iron ore prices are mainly maintaining mid $70s levels on the anticipation that the production will increase in the near term after the holidays and also the end of production curbs, by the next month.

Looking at the benchmark iron ore prices, Platts assessed the 62% Fe IODEX & TSI Iron Ore Fines at $76.55/dry mt CFR North China on Friday. Moreover, TSI 58% Fe Fines, 1.5% Al, CFR Qingdao port closed at $60.55/dmt.

Futures trade

At Dalian Commodity Exchange, iron ore futures stood almost steady at 523.5 yuan a tonne on Friday. Moreover, the Coking coal contract slipped 0.5 percent to 1,356 yuan a tonne.

However, the coke futures recorded more decline as the physical demand for raw materials dropped ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays. The most traded coke contract for May delivery fell 1.91 percent to 2,105.5 yuan ($333.78) a tonne by close.

Furthermore, the Dalian Commodity Exchange has issued a draft revision to its trading regulations to include foreign investors in domestic iron ore futures trading. The draft rules would allow foreign investors to trade through Chinese futures agencies or foreign agencies, while the entrusted foreign companies would need to trade iron ore futures through Chinese futures agencies.

Meanwhile, at Shanghai Futures Exchange, the most actively traded rebar contract dropped 0.92 percent to 3,895 yuan a tonne, as the steel demand was waned after construction activities were slowed by winter weather conditions and the holidays.

Iron ore imports

China’s iron ore imports in January came in at one highest recorded levels as the Chinese steel mills replenished inventories ahead of a week-long holidays and end of steel curbs by next month. Seaborne shipments of iron ore rose to 93.7 million tonnes last month, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity Forecasts.

Meanwhile, the January’s figure is up from December’s 84.14 million tonnes reported by China’s General Administration of Customs, and is the sixth-highest on record, just below the 94.54 million tonnes that arrived in November.

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