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China iron ore posts third weekly gain on strong demand hopes

Chinese iron ore futures surged around 3% on Friday, posting a third straight weekly gain amid hopes for strong demand, fuelled by Beijing’s fresh stimulus measures, while steel prices were range-bound as production curbs at mills weighed.

Capacity utilisation rates of blast furnaces at 247 steel mills across the country continue to recover and stood at 81.08% this week, up from 79.89% a week earlier, data from consultancy Mysteel showed.

“There is strong anticipation that steel production will resume in the medium term,” SinoSteel Futures analysts said, but warned that short-term demand for steelmaking ingredients is pressured due to the Winter Olympics and pandemic-related restrictions.

Huatai Futures noted that China’s recent monetary policy came in line with central government’s requirements, and more policies are expected to shore up the world’s second-largest economy.

Benchmark iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange , for May delivery, jumped as much as 3% to 762 yuan ($120.12) per tonne, the highest since Oct. 13. They ended up 2.2% to 756 yuan a tonne, sending the weekly gain to 4.6%.

Other steelmaking ingredients, however, dropped on the Dalian bourse, with coking coal down 2.6% to 2,207 yuan a tonne and coke prices slipping 1.4% to 2,908 yuan per tonne.

The Indonesian government on Thursday eased a coal export ban for 139 companies after the firms met local market sales requirements aimed at averting a supply crunch and power outages.

Construction-used steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange inched up 0.1% to 4,711 yuan a tonne and hot rolled coils, used in the manufacturing sector, rose 0.2% to 4,822 yuan per tonne.

Shanghai stainless steel futures, for March delivery, closed up 0.9% at 18,500 yuan a tonne, after surging to a daily trading limit on Thursday fuelled by nickel prices.
Source: Reuters ( Reporting by Min Zhang in Beijing and Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Rashmi Aich)

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