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Iron ore heads to $80 amid ‘loss in confidence’ as slump extends

Global trade tensions weigh.

Iron ore sank toward $80 a ton — extending this month’s rout — after China poured fuel on demand fears by reiterating a cautious tack on stimulating the economy even as global trade tensions escalate.

The steelmaking ingredient in Singapore tumbled to its lowest since late-March after China’s central bank late Friday signalled it would continue a targeted approach to shoring up growth in the world’s biggest steel consumer. That’s adding to growing jitters around demand as the US and China’s widening rift sows broader fears about global growth. Futures are down more than a quarter in August.

While iron ore’s direct exposure to trade disputes is minimal, “the loss in confidence appears to have led to a rapid reassessment of the iron ore market,” analysts from Capital Economics, wrote in a note dated Friday. “We think that the price of iron ore will decline further on the back of a renewed slowdown in China’s economy and, more specifically, a downturn in China’s construction sector.”

Iron ore has collapsed from multi-year highs in early July as investor focus pivots from a potential global ore shortage to improving supply and the heightened prospect of weakening demand, especially in China. A flurry of data this week on investment, retail sales and credit are expected to confirm softening in the country’s economy.

Prices

  • Iron ore in Singapore -5.7% to $84.01 a ton by 10:10am local time
  • Futures on Dalian Commodity Exchange -3.8% at 614.5 yuan/ton, heading for lowest close since March
  • Rebar -0.1% to 3,586 yuan/ton on Shanghai Futures Exchange after -5.9% last week
  • Hot-rolled coil +0.6% to 3 621 yuan/ton on SHFE

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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