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Chinese steel, iron ore slide as economic concerns persist

China’s steel and iron ore futures dipped on Wednesday following a broader sell-off across riskier assets, pressured by persistent concerns over weak demand amid a slowing global economy.
Benchmark Shanghai steel rebar futures eased following four days of gains and after hitting a 12-week peak in the previous trading session. They settled 0.6 percent down at 3,644 yuan ($537.13) a tonne when market closed at 0700 GMT.
Prices of hot-rolled coil, a semi-finished product used to make automobile and household appliances, edged down 0.3 percent to 3,559 yuan.
Official Chinese data earlier this week showed that its overall economy cooled further in the fourth quarter, dragging 2018-growth to the lowest in nearly three decades.
The state planner in China also warned that downward pressure on the economy would impact the country’s job market.
“There’s a big probability that China’s economic growth will continue to slowdown in 2019. But it is still uncertain how much effort the Chinese government will make to boost demand,” said Richard Lu, an analyst at CRU in Beijing.
Lu expects a clearer picture on government policy to emerge after China’s annual meeting of parliament in early March.
The lower prices in steel markets also came as China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) said that the average daily crude steel output at its member mills reached 1.84 million tonnes between Jan. 1 and 10, up 3.5 percent from Dec. 21-31, triggering worries about a supply glut in the near-term.
The most-active iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 0.9 percent to 527 yuan a tonne.
Coking coal rose 1.3 percent to 1,232 yuan a tonne, while coke futures climbed 0.3 percent to 2,043 yuan.
Source: Reuters
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