China’s state planner has told some iron ore traders to release excessive inventory and reduce stocks to reasonable levels, following a joint investigation with the market regulator in Qingdao, one of the country’s biggest iron ore ports. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement on Thursday that it and the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) have learned of changes of iron ore inventory in Qingdao Port and retrieved a list of companies with rapid growth in their stockpiles. The authorities held a symposium and requested some iron ore trading firms to provide their recent inventory information, when they bought and sold the products, and other details including quantity and price. They also urged the traders to help verify if there are any irregularities in the iron ore market, such as tactics to hoard or drive up prices, according to the statement. China to ‘significantly increase’ iron ore output, boost use of scrap steel The Thursday meeting in Qingdao was at the summons of the NDRC, with some domestic and foreign iron ore traders present including RGL Group, Tangshan Haichi, Glencore, Mercuria and Itochu, Reuters reported earlier this week citing sources familiar with the matter. Stocks of imported iron ore at China’s ports had been climbing since the second half of 2021 to hit a three-and-a-half year high of over 157 million tonnes in late December, according to SteelHome consultancy. The weekly inventory stood at 156.35 million tonnes as of Friday. The Qingdao symposium came after another meeting on Tuesday, in which NDRC and SAMR officials talked to some state-backed iron ore traders, together with the securities regulator, calling on state-owned firms to take responsibility and assist the government in ensuring supply and stabilising prices. China vows crackdown after ‘abnormal’ iron ore price hikes Both symposia with traders this week indicated regulators would strengthen market supervision and take further measures to maintain market order. The most-traded iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange has declined for four straight sessions and plunged more than 15 per cent so far this week. They closed at 685 yuan (US$108) per tonne on Thursday. Spot prices of iron ore with 62 per cent iron content for delivery to China, compiled by SteelHome, was at US$140 on Wednesday, shedding 7.3 per cent this week.