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The most-traded October rebar contract fell to 3,130 yuan ($508) per tonne towards the close of the session, the lowest level since its launch in March 2009.

“The rebar futures contract is a barometer of China’s investment-driven economy,” an industry analyst in Beijing said.

The contract closed at 3,131 yuan ($508) per tonne today, up just $1 from the all-time low and down 35 yuan ($6) per tonne from Wednesday.

“The much lower power consumption growth in April gave the market a blow. And the contract could plunge further if the government refuses to provide incentives,” a trader in Hong Kong told Steel First.

In April, China’s power consumption, an indicator of economic activity, grew 4.6% year-on-year to 435.6 billion kwh. The growth was far below March’s figure of 7.2% and April’s level of 13.7%, according to data released by the National Energy Administration (NEA) on Thursday May 15.

Total power consumption during the first four months reached 1.71 trillion kwh, up 5.25 year-on-year, but power use for the primary industry fell 4.9% on the year to 25.4 billion kwh in the period, NEA said.

By contrast, iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange remained stable today, with the most-traded September contract closing at 738 yuan ($120) per tonne, flat with Wednesday.