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Ferrous futures rise as China property optimism lifts mood

Chinese iron ore and steel futures rose on Wednesday, rebounding after two days of losses, with news that China Evergrande Group has resumed work on some property projects bringing relief to a market worried about demand prospects in China.

The debt-laden real estate developer 3333.HK said on Tuesday it has resumed work on 631 pre-sold and undelivered projects as it looks to meet its delivery target for this year.

That follows other recent sentiment-boosting developments, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China 601398.SS, 1398.HK agreeing to offer 400 billion yuan ($57.41 billion) financing to support 10 real estate firms.

A persistent property sector weakness in China, alongside a local COVID-19 surge that’s restricting economic activity, has prompted the World Bank to cut its growth outlook for the world’s second-largest economy and top steel producer for 2022 and 2023.

The most-traded May iron ore on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange DCIOcv1 ended daytime trade 3.6% higher at 829 yuan ($118.88) a tonne.

On the Singapore Exchange, benchmark January iron ore was up 2.1% at $111.60 a tonne, as of 0715 GMT.

Steel benchmarks were also firmer, with rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange up 2.6%, hot-rolled coil rising 2.1%, and wire rod climbing 1.6%. Stainless steel dipped 0.7%.

Other Dalian steelmaking ingredients also advanced, with coking coal and coke up 3.2% and 2.8%, respectively, despite depressing COVID-19 headlines.

China faces a surge in severe COVID-19 cases over the next two weeks, a respiratory expert said, fanning global concerns over possible mutations and knock-on effects for the world economy.

The holiday season and colder weather in China, meanwhile, also mean weaker demand for steel, suggesting that any price gains are not sustainable.

“As the Spring Festival approaches, there will be routine maintenance and production shutdowns for holidays,” Huatai Futures analysts said in a note.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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