August 20, 2019 / 3:47 AM / a month ago

China iron ore slips on easing supply concerns; steel output curbs weigh

* Dalian iron ore extends slump into 4th session

* Singapore iron ore futures higher

* BHP: Trade war not hurting iron ore demand

By Enrico Dela Cruz

MANILA, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Iron ore futures in China were on track for their fourth consecutive session of losses on Tuesday as supply concerns eased, while stepped-up production curbs in top steelmaking city of Tangshan added some pressure.

The most-traded January 2020 iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell as much as 1.5% to 613 yuan a tonne.

“I believe the iron ore market is currently mainly driven by supply factors, such as the rising export volumes from miners,” a Shanghai-based trader said.

Top steel producer China’s iron ore imports surged 21% in July from the month before to their highest level since January, as supplies surged from miners in Australia and Brazil.

“Despite the steel production restrictions in China, I think demand for iron ore, particularly for high-grade materials, is still at a healthy level,” the trader said.

While the trade dispute between Washington and Beijing has dampened global economic growth, it has not yet affected Chinese demand for BHP Group’s commodities such as iron ore, copper and coal in China, Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said on Tuesday.

The impact on iron ore demand from Tangshan government’s intensified steel production restriction over a four-day period from Aug. 18 is hard to quantify, the trader said.

Under the new anti-pollution measures, steelmaker HBIS Tangsteel is allowed to operate only one sintering plant, while Huaxi Steel and Guoyi Special Steel can operate only two plants each, according to a report by Mysteel consultancy.

All other steel mills in Tangshan were “requested to trim their sintering operations to 50% of operative capacity over the same period”, the report said.

Steel mills in Tangshan were previously only required to reduce their sintering capacity by 20%-50% in August.

Makers of coke, another steelmaking ingredient, in Tangshan were also asked to suspend coal loading at certain hours during the four-day period, Mysteel said.


* The most-active September 2019 iron ore futures contract on the Singapore Exchange was up 0.4% at $86.80 a tonne in late morning trade.

* Benchmark spot 62% iron ore for delivery to China SH-CCN-IRNOR62 rose on Monday to $92.50 a tonne, from Friday’s $91.50, extending its rebound after slumping to the lowest in more than four months early last week.

* The most-active construction steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was down 0.4% at 3,715 yuan a tonne as of 0316 GMT.

* Hot-rolled coil, steel used in cars and home appliances, dropped 0.5% to 3,708 yuan a tonne.

* Dalian coking coal edged up 0.1% to 1,338 yuan a tonne, while and coke was flat at 1,985.50 yuan.

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Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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