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BEIJING: Chinese stainless steel futures extended gains to a third straight session on Thursday, rising as much as 3% on expectations of lower output even as demand was dented by lower seasonal consumption.

Steelmakers are expected to strengthen maintenance amid a poor demand outlook and production for the metal will remain at relatively low levels till the Chinese New Year holidays, Jinrui Futures wrote in a note, adding that stainless steel prices will be underpinned by raw material costs.

The most actively traded stainless steel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange for February delivery gained as much as 3% to 16,635 yuan ($2,611.26) per tonne. They rose 2.9% to 16,625 yuan a tonne at close.

Steel rebar futures on the Shanghai bourse for May delivery advanced 0.6% to 4,479 yuan per tonne. Hot rolled coils, used in cars and home appliances, inched 0.04% higher to 4,584 yuan a tonne.

Prices for steelmaking ingredients on the Dalian Commodity Exchange were mixed.

Benchmark iron ore futures fell 0.7% to 693 yuan a tonne, tracking spot market as prices of 62% iron ore for delivery to China dropped $1.5 to $127.5 per tonne on Wednesday, according to SteelHome consultancy.

Dalian coking coal prices ended up 1.2% at 2,250 yuan a tonne and coke futures increased 0.6% to 3,088 yuan per tonne.

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