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Iron ore marks best quarter in five on China policy support

Dalian iron ore rose on Thursday, boosting a quarterly gain that was the biggest since end-2020, while the Singapore benchmark hovered around the $160 mark, as traders anticipated additional policy support to shore up China’s economy.

Further gains came for the steelmaking ingredient as Beijing on Wednesday vowed to roll out policies to stabilise the economy as soon as possible to counter downward pressure from a local COVID-19 surge and external headwinds.

The world’s biggest steel producer will make preparations for possible and greater uncertainties in the economy, according to the State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

The most-traded iron ore for September delivery on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange DCIOcv1 ended daytime trade 3.3% higher at 897 yuan ($141.43) a tonne, after earlier touching 912.50 yuan, the highest since Aug. 6.

On the Singapore Exchange SZZFK2, the most-active May iron ore contract rose 1% to $161.65 a tonne by 0710 GMT.

Spot iron ore in China traded at $155 a tonne on Wednesday, with a gain of 27% this year, based on SteelHome consultancy data. SH-CCN-IRNOR62

Traders looked past uninspiring Chinese indicators such as factory activity swinging to negative territory in March and challenges facing the country’s embattled property industry, and instead focused on positive prospects.

“The fact that there is still some pricing power for producers is encouraging given our expectation that this contraction should be temporary,” said Iris Pang, ING chief economist for Greater China, citing the latest official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index data.

To help boost economic activity, China’s central bank is likely to lower banks’ reserve requirement ratios in the second quarter, the official Securities Times reported on Tuesday, citing analysts.

Construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SRBcv1 rose 1.7%, while hot-rolled coil SHHCcv1 gained 0.6%. Stainless steel SHSScv1 shed 0.8%.

Dalian coking coal DJMcv1 added 0.8% and coke DCJcv1 climbed 2.8%.

Source: Reuters

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