Iron ore sank toward $80 a ton — extending this month’s rout — after China poured fuel on demand fears by reiterating a cautious tack on stimulating the economy even as global trade tensions escalate.
The steelmaking ingredient in Singapore tumbled to its lowest since late-March after China’s central bank late Friday signaled it would continue a targeted approach to shoring up growth in the world’s biggest steel consumer. That’s adding to growing jitters around demand as the U.S. and China’s widening rift sows broader fears about global growth. Futures are down more than a quarter in August.
While iron ore’s direct exposure to trade disputes is minimal, “the loss in confidence appears to have led to a rapid reassessment of the iron ore market,” analysts from Capital Economics Ltd., wrote in a note dated Friday. “We think that the price of iron ore will decline further on the back of a renewed slowdown in China’s economy and, more specifically, a downturn in China’s construction sector.”
Iron ore has collapsed from multi-year highs in early July as investor focus pivots from a potential global ore shortage to improving supply and the heightened prospect of weakening demand, especially in China. A flurry of data this week on investment, retail sales and credit are expected to confirm softening in the country’s economy.