Dalian iron ore hits downside limit as selloff continues


Chinese iron ore futures fell on Tuesday, tumbling nearly 4 percent to hit their downside limit, as concerns over a glut continued to pressure prices.

Benchmark spot iron ore prices have dropped 48 percent this year in a rout fueled by rising supply at a time of slower economic growth in top importer China.

The most-traded May contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange dropped to as low as 471 yuan ($76) a tonne and was trading at 476 yuan by midday, down 2.9 percent.

“The market had been trying to get back to 500 yuan many times since last week and failing that, more sellers have emerged,” said an iron ore trader in China’s eastern Shandong province.

The last time Dalian iron ore was trading at around 500 yuan was in mid-November.

The sharp fall in iron ore prices this year has been fueled in part by Chinese speculators who built up huge short positions on the Dalian exchange.

Benchmark 62-percent grade iron ore for immediate delivery to China’s Tianjin port fell 1.7 percent to $69.70 a tonne on Monday, according to the Steel Index. The price fell to $68 on Nov. 26, its weakest since June 2009.

Many physical traders are trying to sell cargoes to settle bank loans as the year-end approaches, providing further downside risk to prices, the trader said.

“The market may recover in January before the Spring Festival when we expect some restocking,” he said, referring to the Chinese New Year which falls in February.

A decline in iron ore inventory at Chinese ports last week did not aid sentiment, with stockpiles still above 100 million tonnes, and up 23 percent for the year.

Stockpiles of imported iron ore at China’s major ports stood at 106.5 million tonnes as of Dec. 5, down 1.05 million tonnes from the previous week, data from consultancy SteelHome showed.

China’s iron ore imports fell 15.1 percent to 67.4 million tonnes in November from the previous month and were down 13.4 percent on a year earlier.

“We believe the fall is being driven by port maintenance in Brazil and certain uneconomic tonnes being removed from the seaborne market due to this year’s price falls,” Standard Bank analyst Melinda Moore said in a note.

Source from : Reuters