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SGX iron ore bounces back above $120/T in volatile week

Iron ore futures rose on Friday, with the Singapore benchmark vaulting back above the $120 per metric ton level, buoyed by China’s policy support for its economy and after Rio Tinto halted work at a Pilbara mining site following an incident.

Lending further support, China’s imported iron ore stockpiles at major ports hit a three-year low this week at 115.92 million tons due to higher discharge volumes and fewer new arrivals, according to consultancy Mysteel.

The steelmaking feed, however, was on track for a weekly fall amid persistent concerns about top steel producer China’s troubled property sector.

Benchmark October iron ore on the Singapore Exchange SZZFV3 was up 3.2% at $121.20 per ton, as of 0724 GMT. It has fallen more than 1% this week after scaling a six-month peak last week.

The most-traded January iron ore on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange DCIOcv1 ended daytime trade 0.9% higher at 871.50 yuan ($119.38) per ton.

Traders cheered state media reports saying China would continue to break down barriers to market access and increase policy support for the private economy, citing 22 measures issued by the State Administration for Market Regulation.

Rio Tinto, the world’s biggest iron ore producer, said it paused work at a Pilbara site in Australia, after a scrub tree and a one square metre rock fell from the overhang of a rock shelter in an area adjacent to the site.

But worries about China’s crisis-hit property sector have muted iron ore’s rally.

“China’s sluggish growth and investor concerns over the property and financial sectors look set to persist,” Westpac analysts said in a note.

Shanghai steel benchmarks fell, with rebar SRBcv1 down by 0.5%, hot-rolled coil SHHCcv1 by 0.4%, wire rod SWRcv1 by 1.8%, and stainless steel SHSScv1 by 0.7%.

Coking coal DJMcv1 and coke DCJcv1 on the Dalian exchange fell 1.5% and 0.2%, respectively.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Subhranshu Sahu)

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