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Tuesday, May 10, 2016, Baishakh 27, 1423 BS, Shaban 2, 1437 Hijri

China steel, iron ore futures dive on lower demands
Published :Tuesday, 10 May, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 19

SHANGHAI/SINGAPORE, May 9: Chinese commodities dived on Monday, led by 6 per cent falls in steel and iron ore futures, as deepening worries about China's demand extended a fortnight of sharp drops and false rebounds in the country's market for industrial metals.
Speculative funds rushed into China's commodities futures last month, betting the country's economy was bottoming. The buying frenzy alarmed domestic exchanges and regulators fearing a bubble could be forming as volumes and prices soared.
To limit speculation on futures from steel to coal, the country's three commodity exchanges have taken aggressive measures, including raising trading margins and transaction fees, and widening daily movement limits.
The big market swings and the response of authorities have raised concerns about the risk of contagion for global markets, particularly after last year's stock boom and bust.
On Monday, the Dalian Commodity Exchange said it would continue to strengthen its market monitoring and may raise transaction fees further to curb speculation.
"Futures liquidity has dropped sharply following exchanges' measures, and now investors are worried China's economic trend will be weaker than previously expected, hurting sentiment," said Zhao Chaoyue, an analyst at Merchant Futures in Shenzhen.
The most-traded rebar, or reinforced steel, on the Shanghai Futures Exchange posted its biggest daily fall on record on Monday. It hit a downside limit of 6 per cent to 2,175 yuan ($334.41) a ton, the lowest since April 7.
September iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange also tumbled by their daily permissible limit of 6 per cent to 388 yuan a ton.
Spot prices of billet, a semi-finished steel product, regarded as a key reference point for the physical market, have tumbled over the last few days, traders said.
The declines followed customs data on Sunday that showed iron ore imports fell 2.2 per cent in April from March, while copper ore and concentrate imports shed 8 per cent on the month.
Fanning concerns about weak fundamentals, iron ore inventories at China's big ports topped 100 million tonnes by the end of April, the China Iron & Steel Association said on Monday.
Chinese stocks also fell in tandem on Monday, reaching eight-month lows. Following the market's nearly 3 per cent slump on Friday, the blue-chip CSI300 index dropped 2.1 per cent while the Shanghai Composite Index gave up 2.8 per cent.
Talking down the prospect of any quick economic recovery, state-owned People's Daily said on Monday that China's economic trend will be "L-shaped", rather than "U-shaped", and definitely not "V-shaped".
"Steel demand is seasonally weaker between June and August, while output keeps rising, which has been interpreted by investors as the turning point of the economic recovery," said Zhao of Merchant Futures.
Speculative interest has focused on steel since it is seen as a lead indicator for the commodities complex, which is used at the very early stage of projects.     ?Reuters

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