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As gold plunges, Chinese investors find new haven in steel rods
From Bloomberg News
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Investors in China have found an unlikely new hiding place from the chaos engulfing financial markets.
The price of steel reinforcement bar, the somewhat unglamorous but ubiquitous commodity used to strengthen concrete, has risen almost 5% over the past month in Shanghai. Over the same period, gold -- the traditional haven amid turmoil -- has dropped more than 5% as investors sell to cover losses in other markets.
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Rebar's unexpected ascent as a financial sanctuary comes as Chinese investors bet that Beijing is going to embark on a massive bout of stimulus to help prop up the country's economy in the aftermath of the coronavirus, boosting demand for raw materials used in construction.
"We are calling rebar 'rebar gold' these days, as it has became a haven asset during this global crisis," said Wu Yijie, an analyst at Shanghai Dalu Futures. "We believe the Chinese government will greatly bolster infrastructure spending as they did post-SARS to boost domestic consumption."
Chinese investors may also be drawn to steel futures because they can be traded only in China, making them more reflective of what's happening locally and less exposed to the same forces that are ravaging more global markets like copper. China also has greater influence over pricing, Wu said. The country produces and consumes about half the world's steel. ...
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