China demand prospects lift iron ore

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    Iron ore futures rose on Monday, with China’s benchmark contract extending a run of strong gains for a third session, buoyed by a positive demand outlook for the steelmaking ingredient in the world’s top steel producer.

    However, trading in iron ore spot and futures is expected to be light this week as China heads for a week-long Lunar New Year holiday, beginning on Thursday.

    The most-traded May iron ore contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange advanced as much as 3.4 percent to 1,033 yuan ($159.96) a ton in morning trade, its strongest level since Jan. 28.

    Iron ore’s May contract on the Singapore Exchange climbed 2.7 percent to $147 a ton, its highest level since Jan. 29.

    China’s appetite for iron ore remains strong despite seasonally-weak domestic demand for steel products, as imports likely rose sharply last month.