Iron Ore to Copper Jump as China Stimulus Optimism ‘Runs Rife’

(Bloomberg) — Iron ore rallied along with copper after Chinese Premier Li Qiang said that growth has picked up this quarter and more stimulus was in store, boosting the outlook for consumption in the biggest metals importer.

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China will roll out more practical, effective measures to expand domestic demand and stoke market vitality, Premier Li told the World Economic Forum in Tianjin. Iron ore, used to make steel, surged by almost 4%.

In addition, Mike Henry, head of BHP Group Ltd., the world’s largest miner, urged the Chinese government to provide more help for the housing market, acknowledging recent data had been patchy. “We do think there’s room for a little bit more policy that is supportive,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

Industrial metals rallied at the start of the year as China reopened after Covid Zero was ditched, but the upswing stalled this quarter as manufacturing and the property market disappointed. While the central bank cut policy rates this month to aid the economy, investors expect more steps will follow, although it’s unclear if they’ll be enough to significantly revive growth.

“Once again, unbridled expectations of further stimulatory interventions are running rife,” said Atilla Widnell, managing director at Navigate Commodities Pte, “We fully expect intermittent upside price shocks to emanate from overly optimistic China and iron ore bulls, though bears will likely use this as an opportunity to sell.”

Iron ore traded 3.8% higher at $113.15 a ton in Singapore at 2:17 p.m., while steel futures in China also climbed. On the London Metal Exchange, copper gained 0.9% to $8,466 a ton as aluminum, zinc, lead, tin and nickel all rose more than 1%. For nickel, the day’s gain came after it closed on Monday at the lowest level since July 2022.

Copper’s upside potential was also in focus after an especially bullish, long-term forecast from billionaire Robert Friedland, who said that prices could ultimately rally tenfold as the global mining industry struggled to meet accelerating demand given the energy transition.

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©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

By Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

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