Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Steel-reinforcement bar futures advanced to the highest level in more than eight months as manufacturing grew for a fourth straight month and home prices gained in China, the biggest user of the construction material.
The contract for delivery in May climbed 1 percent to close at 4,168 yuan ($670) a metric ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the highest closing most-active price since May 10. Futures capped a third straight weekly gain, rising 2.3 percent for the biggest advance since the period ended Dec. 28.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50.4 in January, above the 50 expansion level, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said, as they more than tripled the number of companies surveyed to 3,000. That compared with the 51 median estimate in a Bloomberg survey and 50.6 in December. New home prices rose 1 percent in January, the most in two years, according to SouFun Holdings Ltd., the country’s biggest real estate website owner.
“The data are positive to commodities, but we should also bear in mind that the recent rally of rebar has factored in much of the expectation of a recovery,” said Huang Huiwen, an analyst at Shanghai CIFCO Futures Co.
Another gauge from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics covering fewer businesses showed January PMI climbed to a two- year high of 52.3 from 51.5 a month earlier.
The average spot price for rebar rose 0.1 percent to 3,755 yuan a ton today, according to data from Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. Spot iron ore at Tianjin port climbed 2.1 percent to $152.50 a dry ton yesterday, according to data from The Steel Index Ltd.
The benchmark iron ore price will range from $130 to $150 a ton in 2013 as delivery disruptions will probably result in supply losses of 5 million to 10 million tons in the first quarter, Henry Liu and Shirley Zhao, analysts with Mirae Asset Securities (HK) Ltd., said in a report today.
--Helen Sun. Editors: Ovais Subhani, Jake Lloyd-Smith