Iron ore prices retreated on Thursday on disappointing steel demand
data coming from China.
The output of construction steel products, including rebar and
wire rod, declined by 1.04% week-on-week to 4.23 million tonnes during the week
as of April 6, while the apparent demand for both fell by 6.7% week-on-week to
4.36 million tonnes over the same period, data from consultancy Mysteel showed.
Benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China fell 0.45%
on Thursday, to $119.24 per tonne, the lowest since January.
The most-traded September iron ore futures contract on the
Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) ended daytime trading 1% lower at a two-week
low of 793 yuan ($115.35) a tonne.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said
on Tuesday that it would step up supervision of iron ore markets and urged futures
companies not to exaggerate price increases deliberately.
The Chinese market was closed on Wednesday for a public holiday.
“What matters most is the actual (steel) demand performance for
the moment. If demand could not pick up in line with expectations, (iron ore)
prices may feel further pressure,” said a Shanghai-based iron ore analyst.
“The (steel) demand has recently been relatively weak while
production hovered at a high level, putting prices under downward pressure,”
analysts at Everbright Futures said in a note.