Steel and iron ore futures in China edged higher in a muted session on Wednesday as investors awaited catalysts, including progress in the Sino-U.S. trade talks.
U.S. President Trump will reject a trade deal with China that is not perfect, but the United States would still keep working on an agreement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, according to a transcript of a media interview released by the State Department on Tuesday.
The most-traded iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange edged 0.4 percent higher to 620 yuan ($92.52) a tonne as of 0210 GMT.
The most-active construction steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.1 percent to 3,784 yuan a tonne.
“There’s nothing to speculate on at the moment, and some construction activities may have been suspended while the NPC meeting is going on,” said analyst Richard Lu of CRU in Beijing, referring to the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament.
Delegates to the annual NPC gathering meet in Beijing this week to discuss political and economic policies.
There’s “no strong direction” for commodities at the moment “as markets await updated U.S.-China trade news”, ANZ Research said in a note.
Despite some recent “positive” developments regarding the trade deal negotiations, the market is not discounting the possibility of “further tensions” between the world’s two biggest economies, said Darren Toh, steel and iron ore data scientist at Singapore-based Tivlon Technologies.
Hot rolled coil edged down 0.6 percent to 3,748 yuan a tonne.
China’s top steelmaking city of Tangshan has extended a level 1 smog alert that was due to be lifted on Wednesday as unfavourable weather conditions persist.
The level 1 alert, the highest in China’s four-tier pollution warning system, has been in place since March 1. It means steel mills are required to curb output by 40-70 percent or even stop production, depending on the scale of their emissions.
Coking coal inched up 0.3 percent to 1,280 yuan a tonne, but coke dipped 0.5 percent to 2,076 yuan.