Iron Ore Swings Higher as Traders Await Beijing Policy Signals

A freight train carrying iron ore towards Port Hedland, Australia. Photographer: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg (Ian Waldie/Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- Iron ore continued a volatile week of trading, with prices struggling to find direction amid mixed market signals ahead of next week’s big political gathering in Beijing.

The steelmaking material rallied as much as 3.6% in Singapore on Thursday, following days of fluctuations including a 4.1% slump on Wednesday. Prices are down by nearly a quarter this year, largely because of pessimism over demand from China’s ailing construction sector.

Sentiment in China is uncertain in the run-up to the Third Plenum, a meeting of China’s Communist Party leadership next week to set broad policy priorities. They are expected to unveil a series of economic reforms, with property policies a key area of interest.

Beijing has delivered repeated measures in an attempt to revive sluggish home sales and tackle a housing glut, but so far the results have been muted. Contracted sales from China’s 100 biggest developers could be set for at least a 20% decline this year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

Iron ore futures traded 2.6% higher at $108.15 a ton by 2:20 p.m. local time. Contracts in Dalian and steel futures in Shanghai also advanced.

In base metals, aluminum ticked higher from its lowest close since April on the London Metal Exchange, while copper was little changed.

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