Workers in machinery factory in China. (Stock Image)
Iron ore led gains among industrial metals Wednesday as China vows to use more monetary policy tools to spur the economy, brightening the outlook for raw materials demand.
“Expectations of easing from the People’s Bank of China while bracing for tighter US monetary policy will spur traders to punt on rates-sensitive assets such as commodities and bonds,” Hong Hao, head of research at BOCOM International, wrote in a research note.
China, the world’s biggest buyer of metals, has been mired in a property market slump, credit stress and repeated virus outbreaks. In response, the central bank this week cut its policy interest rate for the first time in almost two years, signaling the beginning of an easing cycle.
“There’s a trend of strengthening the macro policies to stabilize the economy amid downward pressure on the real-estate market,” Huatai Futures said in a note.
Top steel-producing region Tangshan announced plans for winter curbs on Tuesday, Mysteel reported, citing local government documents.
According to Mysteel’s own survey, the capacity utilization rate for blast furnaces in the city will be lowered to 63% from 78% when 16 more furnaces shut from January 30 to February 20 and from March 3-13, affecting capacity of about 60,000 tonnes a day.
“The resumption of production at steel mills may have to wait until after the Lunar New Year holidays, which could have an impact on the supply of steel,” Huatai said.
(With files from Reuters and Bloomberg)