China’s steel and iron ore futures slumped on Monday, with rebar prices hitting their lowest in more than six months, mirroring the gloomy mood in global financial markets due to a further escalation in the U.S.-Sino trade conflict.
Benchmark contracts for steel products used in construction and manufacturing slumped as worries increased over prospects for demand in top steelmaker China, dragging prices of steelmaking raw materials.
The most-traded January 2020 construction material rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended 1.9% lower at 3,372 yuan ($475.41) a tonne, its weakest finish since Feb. 20 this year.
Hot-rolled coil, steel used in cars and home appliances, dropped 1.7% to 3,660 yuan a tonne.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced an additional 5% duty on some $550 billion in targeted Chinese goods on Friday, hours after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods.
China is willing to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through “calm” negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict, Vice Premier Liu He, who has been leading the talks with Washington, said on Monday.
“The U.S.-China trade war has intensified, and aside from the direct impact of tariffs, the uncertainty generated by the conflict is proving to be toxic for business confidence and investment decisions,” Westpac IQ said in a note.
* The most-traded January 2020 iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange dropped 1.7% to 593.50 yuan a tonne, with rising stockpiles at China’s ports also weighing on prices.
* Benchmark 62% iron ore for delivery to China SH-CCN-IRNOR62, as assessed by SteelHome consultancy, was steady at $86.50 a tonne for a third day in a row on Friday, the lowest since March 29 this year.
* Imported iron ore inventory at China’s ports rose steadily for six straight weeks, hitting 124.65 million tonnes, as of Friday SH-TOT-IRONINV, data from SteelHome showed, the highest since the end of May this year.
* In the Singapore Exchange, the front-month September 2019 iron ore contract was down 4.6% at $83.15 a tonne in late trade.
* Fortescue Metals Group, the world’s fourth-largest iron ore miner selling mainly low-grade material, maintained its 2020 shipments outlook of 170 million tonnes to 175 million tonnes, compared with 2019 shipments of 167.7 million tonnes, after announcing strong annual results.
* “What underpins our confidence in the outlook is that we have seen China’s steel production up 9% in the first seven months of the year and we are still seeing strong demand for our products,” Fortescue Chief Executive Elizabeth Gaines told journalists on a results call.
* Dalian coking coal fell 2.2% to 1,301 yuan a tonne, while coke slumped 3.4% to 1,883 yuan, its weakest close since January this year.
* China plans to ease capital requirement for infrastructure projects in the second half this year, in a bid to boost investment and fend off rising headwinds in the slowing economy, the state planner said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)