Iron Ore-Key index matches record as bull run extends
But some analysts say the rally may be showing signs of fatigue and could falter when the Chinese market is shut for the week-long Lunar New Year in early February.
"I think that we're nearing a top around about now," said Michael Gaylard, strategy director at Freight Investor Services in Shanghai.
"Chinese buyers will be pausing for breath around here and I think the Spring Festival holiday will put the screws on the rise. The pressure to take on cargo will relax for a little bit."
Prices of Singapore Exchange-cleared forward swaps <0#SGXIOS:> eased on Wednesday, with the February contract at below $181 a tonne and March down 84 cents to $177.33.
Whether the rally will have legs will hinge on the supply situation particularly from India, said Gaylard.
Iron ore exports from India, the world's third-biggest supplier, had been tight since its Karnataka state banned shipments in July. India's top iron ore producer, Orissa, is also looking at halting exports to meet domestic demand.
"If India curbs exports further, then this rally has potential to run a long way," he said. (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Ed Lane)
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