BEIJING: Chinese steel futures traded in a tight range on Friday, but were on course for a more than 2% weekly gain as demand for major steel products continued to improve.

Inventories of five main steel products, including construction used rebar and wire rods, as well as manufacturing materials coils and plates, fell 5% week-on-week, data from Mysteel consultancy showed.

The drop came as apparent consumption for the steel products increased 5.3% this week, according to Mysteel.

The most-active steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, for October delivery, inched up 0.1% to 5,417 yuan ($837.73) per tonne as of 0247 GMT.

Hot-rolled coil futures, used in cars and home appliances, dipped 0.3% to 5,729 yuan a tonne. The June contract of Shanghai stainless steel futures rose 0.2% to 14,510 yuan a tonne.

“Fundamentals remain supportive for most metals in the very near term..we see steel and iron ore heading higher for now, before stabilising later on in the year,” analysts with Fitch Solutions wrote in a note.

Benchmark iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, for September delivery, fell 1.3% to 1,116 yuan a tonne.

Spot prices of 62% iron ore remained unchanged at $193.5 a tonne on Thursday from the previous session, data compiled by SteelHome consultancy showed.

Dalian coking coal jumped 1.5% to 1,780 yuan a tonne and coke declined 1.8% to 2,644 yuan. China’s factory activity in April expanded at the fastest pace in four months on stronger demand, but concerns over surging raw materials and input costs clouded the outlook, according to a private survey released on Friday.


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