Dalian iron ore futures rose for a fourth consecutive session on Thursday, underpinned by lingering hopes of further stimulus and restocking needs of steelmakers in top consumer China, although shrinking steel margins capped the gains.
The most-traded May iron ore contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) ended daytime trading 0.3% higher at 1,016 yuan ($142.09) a metric ton.
China’s central bank made 350 billion yuan in loans to policy banks through its pledged supplementary lending (PSL) facility in December, fuelling expectations of increased support for the country’s ailing housing sector.
“It’s likely that the PSL will be used for the ‘three major projects’, boosting sentiment,” analysts at Everbright Futures said in a note.
The three major projects refer to the building of affordable housing, urban village renovation and construction of public infrastructure for dual use.
Analysts at Citi wrote in a note that policymakers would step up support for the ‘three major projects’, benefiting steel and iron ore demand.
Meanwhile, price gains for the key steelmaking ingredient slowed as concerns eased about a supply disruption from Australia.
Fortescue said on Wednesday that multiple iron ore cars had been derailed from the company’s tracks on Saturday at its Western Australia operations.
The world’s fourth-largest iron ore producer said on Thursday rail operations resumed on Wednesday as anticipated.
The benchmark February iron ore SZZFG4 on the Singapore Exchange was, however, 1.13% lower at $141.05 a ton, as of 0702 GMT, dragged down by a stronger dollar as investors reassessed their expectations of the scale of rate cuts by the Federal Reserve this year following the release of December meeting minutes.
Other steelmaking ingredients on the DCE weakened, with coking coal DJMcv1 and coke DCJcv1 tumbling 3.75% and 2.63%, respectively.
Steel benchmarks on the Shanghai Futures Exchange retreated. Rebar SRBcv1 shed 0.17%, hot-rolled coil SHHCcv1 eased 0.38%, wire rod SWRcv1 fell 0.52% and stainless steel SHSScv1 lost 0.29%.