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Dalian iron ore hits 5-month high on China demand optimism

Dalian iron ore soared more than 7% on Friday and was on course to post its biggest weekly gain since mid-December, buoyed by a combination of hopes that China’s stepped-up monetary easing would stimulate demand and fears over tight supply prospects.

The steelmaking ingredient’s most-traded May contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange DCIOcv1 ended daytime session 7.6% higher at 829 yuan a tonne, after earlier touching 830 yuan, its strongest since Aug. 31.

Front-month March iron ore on the Singapore Exchange SZZFH2 leapt as much as 7% to hit a contract high of $147.25 a tonne.

The bullish tone was sustained in both markets even as some traders stayed away ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday from Jan. 31.

Spot prices also rebounded strongly, with the benchmark 62%-grade material climbing to $140 a tonne on Thursday, the loftiest since Sept. 3, according to SteelHome consultancy data.

After a rollercoaster ride in 2021 in the wake of mandatory steel output cuts aimed at reducing the sector’s carbon emissions, top steel producer China’s output is expected to rise in the first half of 2022, before declining in the second half, S&P Global Platts reported citing industry sources and market participants.

Despite China’s ambitious low-carbon goals, President Xi Jinping has said “reducing emissions is not about reducing productivity, and it is not about not emitting at all.”

“This has once again ignited hopes for a revival in raw material demand, which would be more visible post-February,” after the Beijing Winter Olympics, ING commodities strategists said in a note.

Warnings by major miners Fortescue Metals Group FMG.AX, BHP Group BHP.AX and Rio Tinto RIO.AX of coronavirus-led labour shortages in Australia added fuel to iron ore’s rally.

Construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SRBcv1 rose 2.8%, while hot-rolled coil SHHCcv1 climbed 2.7%. Stainless steel SHSScv1 gained 0.7%.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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