Iron ore falls for second straight week on soft China data, doubts around stimulus

Credit: REUTERS/CHINA STRINGER NETWORK

Dalian iron ore, SGX benchmark down more than 1.5%

China's manufacturing activity contracts for a 5th month

Steel benchmarks weaker on lower raw materials, subdued demand

Recasts, updates closing prices, adds analyst comment in paragraph 8

BEIJING, March 1 (Reuters) - Iron ore futures slid on Friday, logging their second weekly loss, amid weak factory data and mounting doubts on whether policymakers in top consumer China will unveil bold policies to help its economy.

The most-traded May iron ore contract on China's Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) DCIOcv1 ended daytime trade 1.75% lower at 871.5 yuan ($121.09) a metric ton, posting a fall of 3.6% week-on-week.

The benchmark April iron ore SZZFJ4 on the Singapore Exchange slipped 1.55% to $113.3 a ton, as of 0801 GMT, the lowest since Oct. 24, 2023. It also recorded a decline of 4.7% on-week.

China's manufacturing activity contracted for a fifth straight month in February, an official factory survey showed, raising the pressure on policymakers to consider further stimulus measures.

A private-sector survey, however, showed both production and new orders grew faster, pushing business confidence to a 10-month high.

Prices rose in morning trade on the back of prospects of growing demand and Beijing's latest move to support its ailing property sector.

"Steel demand outlook improved ahead of the NPC (National People's Congress) meeting; also, hopes mounted that mills will replenish raw materials and hot metal output will pick up," said Zhuo Guiqiu, an analyst at Jinrui Futures.

Chinese regulators urged prefecture-level and above cities to establish a financing coordination mechanism before March 15 in a bid to support the country's struggling property sector.

Other steelmaking ingredients on the DCE were mixed, with coking coal DJMcv1 up 0.11% and coke DCJcv1 down 0.63%.

Steel benchmarks on the Shanghai Futures Exchange posted losses. Rebar SRBcv1 fell 0.84%, hot-rolled coil SHHCcv1 dropped 0.61%, wire rod SWRcv1 shed 0.35% and stainless steel SHSScv1 lost 1.1%.

($1 = 7.1974 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Amy Lv and Andrew Hayley; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Varun H K)

((Amy.Lv@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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