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BEIJING: Chinese ferrous futures drifted in a narrow range on Monday, as the recent COVID-19 outbreak dented peak seasonal demand while disrupting production and transportation as well.

Mainland China reported 2,027 confirmed coronavirus cases for March 20, including 1,947 locally transmitted, the country’s health authority said.

Hebei, the country’s top steelmaking province, had 51 cases for Sunday, with two reported in the steel manufacturing hub of Tangshan.

The Tangshan government has implemented traffic control and suspended all public transportation to avoid further infections.

“The pandemic outbreak in many regions has led to lower downstream demand, and logistics in some areas were disrupted,” analysts with SinoSteel Futures wrote in a note.

As the steel sector has entered the traditional peak season, the resurgent COVID cases could have a negative impact on consumption, they said.

The most-active steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, for May delivery, dipped 0.6% to 4,895 yuan ($769.28) per tonne, as of 0330 GMT.

Hot-rolled coils, used in cars and home appliances, inched up 0.2% to 5,111 yuan per tonne. Shanghai stainless steel futures slipped 0.6% to 19,740 yuan a tonne.

Benchmark iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange dropped 0.7% to 819 yuan a tonne. Spot 62% iron ore jumped $3.5 to $150 per tonne on Friday, according to SteelHome consultancy.

Coking coal futures on the Dalian bourse eased 0.2% to 2,982 yuan a tonne and coke prices faltered 1.9% to 3,555 yuan per tonne.

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