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China coking coal, coke futures leap as COVID-19 curbs lift supply woes

  • Capacity utilisation rates at 126 blast furnaces in Tangshan fell to 78.84% this week, down 1.72% from a week earlier, according to Mysteel.
Published January 15, 2021

BEIJING: Chinese coking coal and coke futures gained on Friday, rising more than 4%, as fresh restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections hindered mills from restocking raw materials, stoking fears of tight supply.

The top steelmaking province of Hebei had reported 90 new confirmed cases for Jan. 14. Local government had strengthened controls to prevent further transmissions to other places.

Transportation of some steelmaking ingredients, mostly coal and coke that are sent via trucks, has been affected by the curbs. A research from Mysteel consultancy showed 36% of all mills in Tangshan has coke inventories for fewer than seven days, arousing supply issues.

Capacity utilisation rates at 126 blast furnaces in Tangshan fell to 78.84% this week, down 1.72% from a week earlier, according to Mysteel.

The most-traded coking coal futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, for May delivery, surged 5.3% to 1,743 yuan ($269.43) a tonne, as of 0307 GMT.

Coke futures gained 4.4% to 2,854 yuan per tonne.

Benchmark iron ore futures rose 2.8% to 1,067 yuan a tonne, and spot prices of 62% iron ore gained by $1 to $172.5 per tonne on Thursday.

FUNDAMENTALS

  • Construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 2.5% to 4,389 yuan per tonne.

    • Hot-rolled coil was up 1.9% at 4,511 yuan a tonne.

    • Steel inventories at mills and with traders stood at 15.2 million tonnes, as of Jan. 14, up 5.5% from the week earlier.

    • Shanghai stainless steel futures, for March delivery, gained 2.1% to 14,160 yuan per tonne.

    • China's new homes prices grew moderately in December, official data showed on Friday, as government measures aimed at cooling the property market took their toll.

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