China’s iron ore hits over 10-1/2-month peak on strong demand – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Australian Financial Review – January 22, 2019)

Manila | China’s iron ore futures rose on Monday to their highest since March 2018, extending gains on expectations of increased demand as the country’s steel inventories fell, and hopes that Beijing will roll out more economic stimulus measures.

Steel futures held on to their gains after data showed last month’s average daily steel output of China, the world’s biggest steel maker, hit its lowest level since March as producers cut output amid shrinking profit-margins.

The most traded iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed 2.2 per cent higher at 533 yuan ($US78.53) a tonne, after rising as much as 3.2 per cent to 538 yuan early in the session, the highest since March 2, 2018 when it hit the same level.

Spot iron ore for delivery to China

“Our sintering data analytics model is seeing a pick up in (iron ore) utilisation over the last two weeks,” said Darren Toh, a data scientist with Singapore-based steel and iron ore data analytics company Tivlon Technologies.

Utilisation of the steel-making raw material is expected to continue inching up over the next 10 weeks in China, Toh said, adding, he expected authorities to relax anti-pollution measures in the first half of the year.

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