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Launceston, Australia — The tug-of-war between fundamentals and sentiment appears to be getting stronger for many commodities as the market tries to reconcile factors such as robust demand numbers from China and increasingly worrying rhetoric and actions from the US. Iron ore, steel and copper all performed well on Wednesday after Chinese data showed real-estate investment and industrial output rising at a faster than expected pace. Spot iron ore prices in China rose 2.7% to close at $71.64 a tonne, while London-traded copper futures gained 0.6% to $6,988.50 a tonne. China’s real-estate investment over the first two months of the year grew 9.9% from the same period a year ago, marking the fastest pace since 2015. Industrial output in the January to February period gained 7.2% from the same period in 2017, beating the market consensus forecast of a rise of 6.1% and coming in well above December’s 6.2% growth rate. Given that property and industry are among the major consumers of comm...

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