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Iron ore extends losses on weak steel demand, China intervention fears

BEIJING, April 4 (Reuters) – Dalian and Singapore iron
ore futures fell for a second session on Tuesday, pressured by
higher shipments, weak steel demand in the traditionally peak
construction season and lingering concerns about government

“The current apparent (steel) demand is weaker than
expected, putting downward pressure on the raw materials
market,” said a Tianjin-based iron ore analyst.

Market talks that China’s National Development and Reform
Commission met with several futures companies in Beijing on
Monday to discuss the iron ore market, have raised fears of more
government action against hoarding and speculative activities,
said analysts.

The most-traded May iron ore futures contract on the Dalian
Commodity Exchange (DCE) traded 2.22% lower at 880 yuan
($127.87) a tonne, as of 0205 GMT.

On the Singapore Exchange, the benchmark May iron ore
was 2.19% lower at $118.25 a tonne, as of 0223 GMT.

Other steelmaking raw materials coking coal and coke fell
sharply, dragged down by abundant supply and weak demand. Coking
coal slumped 3.98% and coke lost 3.76%.

Some mills in northern China’s Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong
provinces successfully lowered their coke purchase prices by
50-100 yuan a tonne, information from Mysteel consultancy

“Spot prices slumped due to supply outpacing demand at the
moment, putting pressure on the futures market as well. We
expect the second round of proposal for (coke) price drop to be
on the way,” said a Shanghai-based coking coal and coke analyst.

Prices of steel futures were also weaker. Rebar on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange declined by 2.04% to 4,024
yuan a tonne, hot-rolled coil shed 1.94%, wire rod
dropped 1.13% and stainless steel dipped

Despite the current ferrous market weakness, some analysts
expect steel demand to gradually pick up in April following the
latest round of inclement weather that has hit many regions
across China and affected construction activities.
($1 = 6.8820 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Amy Lv and Dominique Patton; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)

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