Reuters View: Iron ore defies commodity gloom amid China property hopes

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 14 (Reuters) - (The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)

Iron ore has defied weakness in most of the commodity complex, with prices climbing to an eight-month high amid both positive sentiment and supportive fundamentals in China, the world's biggest buyer of the steel raw material.

Iron ore contracts in Singapore ended at $129.24 a metric ton on Monday, the highest since March 16, extending a rally since an Aug. 3 low of $103.21 to 25%.

China's main domestic iron ore market performed even better, with futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange ending at 963 yuan ($132.10) a metric ton on Monday, the highest in local currency terms since May 2021 and 64% above this year's low of 587.5 yuan on May 25.

The strength in iron ore is being driven by renewed optimism that China's vast property sector is emerging from the gloom of recent months.

The most recent catalyst was a Nov. 8 Reuters story that revealed Ping An Insurance Group will take a controlling stake in Country Garden (2007.HK), China's biggest private property developer, which has been struggling with the same liquidity issues that have plagued some of its competitors.

Ping An has denied the Reuters story, and said it had not been approached by the government.

China's property sector accounts for about one-quarter of economic activity, giving it an outsized role in both growth and sentiment, and Beijing has made several efforts to restore confidence in the industry.