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BEIJING: Chinese steel futures traded in a tight range on Thursday, as investors looked for government measures to uplift its economy reeling from a recent resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

The cabinet said on Wednesday China would use timely cuts to reserve requirement ratios and other policy tools to support the economy, as well as industries and small firms hit by the pandemic.

The most-active construction material steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, for October delivery, inched up 0.3% to 4,990 yuan ($783.80) a tonne as of 0330 GMT.

Hot rolled coils used in the manufacturing sector jumped 0.6% to 5,159 yuan per tonne. The May contract of stainless steel futures gained 0.4% to 19,740 yuan a tonne.

Benchmark iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, for September delivery, dipped 0.9% to 892 yuan a tonne, tracking spot 62% iron ore which fell $2 to $152 per tonne in the previous session, according to SteelHome consultancy.

Li Wentao, an analyst with Tianfeng Futures highlighted that some Chinese cities had recently relaxed their property sales policies. “Real estate sales are improving, and the market is mainly focusing on how long will it take to transfer (this momentum) to the property development sector.”

Li also expects steel demand to recover in the second half of the year and flagged that price of steelmaking raw materials, such as iron ore, coke and steel scrap, were still high and squeezing mills’ profits. Among other raw material prices, Dalian coking coal increased 0.3% to 3,208 yuan a tonne and coke prices jumped 2.2% to 4,192 yuan per tonne.

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