Iron ore fell after a widely-watched government policy meeting in China finished without any major new stimulus pledges.
The steel-making staple lost as much as 2.9% in Singapore. The Communist Party’s annual economic work conference said industrial policy would be the top priority next year, disappointing investors who had been looking for more measures to support the country’s ailing economy.
The policy plans will be a letdown to anyone who had hoped to see China shift gears to revive growth and confidence with massive stimulus in 2024, according to Eric Zhu, an economist at Bloomberg Economics. The tone of the comments on macro policy remained accommodative, but with few hints of a more aggressive stance, he said.
Iron ore is still near the highest since February after rebounding over the past few months on a series of moves by Beijing to boost infrastructure spending. However, signs that authorities won’t be doubling down on that approach are dimming the outlook for next year, particularly as the Chinese economy struggles with deflation.
Optimism over stimulus has been running too high, and it’s likely that iron ore prices will retrace in the first half of next year, said Liu Jialiang, vice president of research at Cofco Futures Ltd.
Iron ore traded 2.8% lower at $132.30 a ton as of 12:42 p.m. in Singapore. Futures in Dalian lost 2.7%, while steel contracts in Shanghai declined at least 2.1%. Among base metals, copper dipped 0.4% to $8,322.50 a ton on the London Metal Exchange. Zinc declined 0.6%, while aluminum slipped 0.1%.