Launceston, Australia — Spot iron ore prices in Asia appear to be poised on the precipice of a steep decline as a myriad of factors suggest an imminent correction. Except for one factor, which is probably enough to hold them up, at least for a little longer. On the bearish side, port inventories in top importer China are at a record high of 154.3-million tonnes, steel prices are starting to weaken as China’s vast property sector shows signs of easing growth, and supply from major exporters Australia and Brazil is expected to increase. In theory these factors should be more than enough to start a slide in spot prices, but so far this has not happened. Iron ore futures traded on the Singapore Exchange, which are based on the spot price for China cargoes, ended at $76.46 a tonne on Monday, up 7.3% since the end of last year and 31% since the 2017 low of $58.53 on November 1. China’s domestic iron ore benchmark futures ended Monday at 543 yuan ($84.84) a tonne, up 2.5% since the end of ...

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