Iron ore futures extend gains

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    Iron ore futures jumped on Thursday, with Dalian prices climbing more than 3 percent and the Singapore benchmark up for an eighth straight session, as more signs of improving downstream steel demand in China supported prices.

    The most-traded iron ore for September delivery on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rose as much as 3.3 percent to 913.50 yuan ($131.75) a tonne in early trade.

    Iron ore’s September contract on the Singapore Exchange was up 2.1 percent at $114.60 a ton.

    Rising car and excavator sales in China further buoyed sentiment, analysts at Beijing-based Sinosteel Futures Co Ltd said in a note.

    “Good car sales data shows that domestic demand is improving, and excavator sales also mean that the construction machinery industry and infrastructure are improving,” they said.

    Sales volume of China’s automobile industry in July was estimated at 2.08 million, up 14.9 percent from a year earlier, while excavator sales increased by more than 40 percent, they said.

    Benchmark 62 percent iron ore’s spot price in China stood at a 12-month high of $116.50 a ton on Wednesday, data from SteelHome consultancy showed.

    Construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 1 percent.

    Hot-rolled coil, steel used in cars and home appliances, rose 0.4 percent, while stainless steel advanced 1.7 percent.

    Coking coal gained 1 percent and coke climbed 0.8 percent. – Reuters