* Dalian iron ore rises to fresh one-week high
* SGX iron ore, spot prices firmer above $130/tonne
* China steps up stimulus effort with more rate cuts
* Shanghai stainless steel scales three-month peak
Jan 20 (Reuters) - Iron ore pushed higher on Thursday on
expectations of further monetary easing measures in top steel
producer China, while stainless steel futures jumped to a
three-month peak, buoyed by record-high prices of key ingredient
Iron ore's most-traded May contract on China's Dalian
Commodity Exchange ended daytime trading 1.3% higher
at 742 yuan ($116.97) a tonne, after touching a one-week high of
747.50 a tonne earlier in the session.
The steelmaking ingredient's most-active March contract on
the Singapore Exchange climbed 2.6% to $133.90 a tonne
by 0708 GMT.
China stepped up its monetary easing efforts to prop up a
slowing economy this week by lowering a set of key policy rates
and lending benchmarks, with markets expecting further moves.
"We view this week's rate cuts as a pre-emptive move to
drive a growth rebound in 2022," said Commonwealth Bank of
Australia commodity analyst Vivek Dhar, citing downside
pressures from the reimposition of COVID-19 curbs and the
property sector's downturn.
Apart from China's stimulus measures, Dhar said improved
steel margins also supported iron ore prices.
Spot 62%-grade iron ore for delivery to China
<SH-CCN-IRNOR62> jumped to $132 a tonne on Wednesday, the
strongest level since Jan. 13, according to SteelHome
consultancy. Prices, however, remained well below record peaks
scaled in May 2021.
"The fact that steel margins rose from November to December
also suggests that steel demand has held up reasonably well
potentially indicating that steel demand from China's
infrastructure sector may be offsetting demand weakness from
China's property sector," Dhar said.
Stainless steel on the Shanghai Futures Exchange
surged by its daily upside limit of 8% to hit its highest since
late October, as supply worries and strong demand propelled
Shanghai nickel to a record peak.
Shanghai rebar rose 0.3%, while hot-rolled coil
was nearly flat.
Dalian coking coal gained 0.4% and coke
(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; additional reporting
by Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and