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Dalian iron ore slumps as China economic data dents appetite

Dalian iron ore futures slipped on Tuesday after top steel producer China’s economic growth in 2022 slumped to one of its worst levels in nearly half a century, fuelling fears of more inflationary headaches worldwide.

The most-traded May iron ore on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange ended day trade 1.3% lower at 835.0 yuan ($123.32) a tonne.

On the Singapore Exchange, the benchmark February iron ore was up 0.5% at $120.00 a tonne, as of 0700 GMT.

China’s fourth quarter was hit hard by strict COVID-19 curbs and a property market slump, raising pressure on policymakers to unveil more stimulus this year.

The top steel producer’s output rose 4.5% in December from the prior month, as demand for the material used in construction increased following stepped-up government support for the property sector.

It is perhaps not surprising that China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is making further moves to cap iron ore prices, given that the metal has still managed to rally over 6% since the announcement that the NDRC would ramp up efforts to regulate prices of iron ore and crack down on malicious speculation of the metal, according to a note from commodities broker Marex.

Market players await the outcome of an NDRC meeting that started at 0630 GMT on Tuesday.

Losses in Asian shares widened on Tuesday after China reported weak fourth-quarter economic data, although investor expectations for a strong rebound in the country remained high even as concerns increase that the global economy is heading for a recession.

The most-active rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SRBcv1 edged 0.2% higher, hot-rolled coil SHHCcv1 inched up 0.1%, wire rod SWRcv1 rose 0.9%, and stainless steel SHSScv1 climbed 1%.

Dalian coking coal DJMcv1 edged 0.7% lower, while coke DCJcv1 rose 1.1%.

Source: Reuters

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