Steel reinforcement-bar futures climbed to a five-month high, heading for the best quarterly performance in two years, on optimism that a recovery in the real estate market in China, the biggest user, may boost demand.
Rebar for delivery in May closed 1.2 percent higher at 3,916 yuan ($628) a metric ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the highest level for the most-active contract since July 13. Futures have climbed 8.9 percent this quarter, the biggest advance since the last three months of 2010. That reduced this year’s decline to 7 percent.
New home prices rose in 53 of the 70 cities the government tracks in November from the previous month, the most in 18 months, China’s statistics bureau said Dec. 18. Retailing, real estate and mining have improved, according to the China Beige Book summary. Iron-ore producers strengthened as steel demand rose from housing, infrastructure and manufacturing, CBB International LLC, a New York-based researcher, said in the summary e-mailed yesterday.
“Market participants have been looking for a release of pent-up demand early next year, along with rising home prices,” Zhang Lei, an analyst at Nanhua Futures Co., said by phone from Shenyang city, Liaoning province. “An unusually strong physical market has been supporting futures as demand is usually tepid” in the winter season, he said.
The average spot price for rebar climbed 0.4 percent to 3,637 yuan a ton yesterday, the highest level since Nov. 27, according to Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. Spot iron ore at Tianjin port advanced 3 percent to $139.40 a dry ton yesterday, the highest level since May 9, data compiled by The Steel Index Ltd. showed.