Iron ore rebounds after China’s latest move to spur property sector

Iron ore futures prices ticked up on Thursday, helped by Beijing’s latest move to revive its struggling property sector, although lacklustre near-term demand and persistently high portside stocks in top consumer China capped gains.

The most-traded September iron ore contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) ended daytime trade 0.93% higher at 817 yuan ($112.67) a metric ton.

The benchmark July iron ore SZZFN4 on the Singapore Exchange climbed 0.7% to $106.60 a ton, as of 0703 GMT.

China’s central bank on Wednesday held a meeting to promote its financial support for affordable housing in a bid to accelerate sales of unsold housing stock, the latest effort to revive the embattled property sector.

“Prices have been swinging up and down rapidly this morning amid mixed messages and the latest rise is because of the dominance of financing for the affordable housing,” said Pei Hao, a Shanghai-based analyst at international brokerage Freight Investor Services (FIS).

“Also some dip-buying following continuous price falls lent certain support.”

But gains were limited by lingering worry over how much exactly the ferrous market could benefit from various property stimulus in place.

“Overall iron ore demand is in the downtrend. China’s government has been deploying many stimulatory measures to revive the property market for more than a year but it’s not helping,” said ANZ analyst Soni Kumari.

Inventories are high and unless consumer demand comes back, prices will be pressured, she added.

Data on Wednesday showed that China’s consumer inflation held steady in May, but the underlying trend suggests Beijing would need to do more to prop up feeble domestic demand amid an uneven economic recovery.

Other steelmaking ingredients on the DCE were mixed, with coking coal DJMcv1 down 0.25% while coke added 1.5%.

Most steel benchmarks on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained ground. Rebar SRBcv1 rose 0.5%, hot-rolled coil nudged up 0.4%,wire rod SWRcv1 advanced 0.16% while stainless steel lost 1.13%.