Chinese iron ore futures hit their lowest in more than three weeks on Tuesday following news that Brazil’s average daily exports of the steel-making raw material this month outpaced shipments a year earlier, despite last month’s mine disaster.
The Chinese ferrous market, however, ended a volatile session with construction steel rebar extending its rise into a fourth session, as optimism over a possible trade deal between Beijing and Washington waned.
The most-traded iron ore contract for May delivery on the Dalian Commodity Exchange ended down 3.2 percent at 593.5 yuan ($88.60) a ton, having fallen as much as 4.4 percent earlier in the day.
The most-active construction steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange see-sawed between losses and gains, before closing 0.3 percent higher at 3,736 yuan a ton, the highest in more than two weeks.
Although U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he may soon sign a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping to end a trade war, China will not likely agree to the more important U.S. demands such as a fundamental restructuring of its economy, said analyst Edward Meir of INTL FCStone Financial.
“The overall uncertainty surrounding the global trade picture that has been with us for much of the last year will likely not lift anytime soon,” Meir said.
Hot rolled coil edged higher by 0.9 percent to 3,744 yuan a tonne.
(GRAPHIC: 2019 China Iron Ore Prices - tmsnrt.rs/2VnpwAy)
For the month to Feb. 22, Brazil exported 1.4 million tonnes of iron ore per business day on average, exceeding the average daily shipments of the mineral in February 2018 by 7.8 percent, according to data from foreign trade agency Secex.
Speculations about the magnitude of losses from Brazil’s iron ore supply, as last month’s collapse of Vale SA’s Brumadinho tailings dam in Brazil led the top miner to halt several of its operations, had propelled iron ore prices to record peaks.
Dalian iron ore has fallen nearly 10 percent since hitting an intraday record high of 657.5 yuan on Feb. 12, as demand remained tepid while inventories rose in top importer and consumer China.
Chinese steel mills had built up their iron ore stocks ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday this month and were seen reluctant to buy more at record-high prices as their margins narrowed.
“Some of the steam has left the Chinese ferrous markets...after a very solid run of late amid worries over supply disruptions,” Meir said.
Coking coal inched up 0.3 percent to 1,295 yuan a tonne. Coke edged down 0.5 percent to 2,143.5 yuan.