Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Steel reinforcement-bar futures in Shanghai rose from the lowest level in more than 17 months as China’s trade growth unexpectedly accelerated in January and iron ore imports climbed to a record in January.
Rebar for May delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 0.2 percent to close at 3,393 yuan ($560) a metric ton. Futures settled at 3,386 yuan yesterday, the lowest close for a most-active contract since September 2012.
Overseas shipments rose 10.6 percent from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said today in Beijing, a pace that may be distorted by false invoices and holidays and compares with the median projection of economists for a 0.1 percent gain. Imports advanced 10 percent, leaving a trade surplus of $31.9 billion, the widest for January since 2009.
“Strong trade data helped offset rising inventory levels,” said Yu Yang, an analyst at Shenyin & Wanguo Futures Co. in Shanghai. “Steel mills may step up purchases to replenish their raw-material inventories.”
Imports of iron ore rose to 86.83 million tons in January, from 73.38 million tons in December and 65.54 million tons a year earlier, according to customs data today.
On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, the steel-making ingredient for delivery in May rose 0.6 percent to close at 853 yuan a ton. Iron ore for immediate delivery fell for a fifth day yesterday, dropping 0.7 percent to $120 a dry ton, the lowest price since July 2, according to The Steel Index Ltd.
Spot rebar tracked by Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. retreated 0.6 percent today to 3,368 yuan a ton, the lowest since July 2.
--Feiwen Rong. Editors: Jarrett Banks, Sungwoo Park