Iron ore may rise to $150 (Dh551) a metric tonne by March on expectations China's central bank will ease credit conditions and as labourers return to public works projects after the Chinese New Year, researcher Umetal.com said.
The steelmaking raw material may trade between $130 and $160 a tonne in 2012, said Xu Guangjian, a Beijing-based analyst with Umetal.com. Iron ore with 62 per cent content at Tianjin port gained 2.7 per cent to $135.7 a tonne as of December 23, according to The Steel Index Ltd. Prices this year averaged 14 per cent higher than last year's $147 a tonne.
The central bank cut the amount of cash that lenders must set aside as reserves for the first time since 2008 this month as Europe's debt crisis dimmed the outlook for exports and growth.
Chinese bankers are forecasting a further loosening in monetary policy, the central bank said December 22, signalling mills and traders may have more funds to buy iron ore.
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"Ore prices may rise moderately after the holidays," Xu said. "Still, there are no signs steel demand will have a substantial recovery in other sectors such as automobiles and home appliances."
Crude-steel output in China, the world's biggest producer, fell to 49.9 million tonnes in November.