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BEIJING: Chinese steel futures flitted in a tight range on Wednesday, as Covid-19 lockdowns continue to dampen market demand despite a raft of recent stimulus measures to prop up an ailing real-estate market and the world’s second-largest economy.

Regulators have pledged to keep credit growth stable in the property sector, and said would broaden tax credit rebates, postpone loan payments, and roll out more investment projects to help the economy hit by the pandemic outbreaks.

“However, we noticed the new round of Covid outbreak since March had led to intensifying prevention measures in the first- and second-tier cities, and effect of those favourable policies has not shown yet,” analysts with the Research & Development department of Founder CIFCO Futures said.

The most-traded steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange for October delivery inched down 0.2% to 4,541 yuan ($680.87) a tonne at close.

Futures of hot-rolled coils, which are used in cars and home appliances, closed flat at 4,673 yuan per tonne.

Shanghai stainless steel prices, for June delivery, inched 0.4% higher to 18,595 yuan a tonne.

China aims to bring its economic operations back onto a normal track with a package of targeted, forceful and effective measures, the cabinet said.

Analysts expect consumption to pick up once Covid-related restrictions are lifted, but said the economy will take time to completely absorb all stimulus measures.

Benchmark iron ore futures for September delivery recouped early losses to close 0.4% higher at 852 yuan a tonne. Spot prices of iron ore with 62% iron content for delivery to China fell $5 to $130 on Tuesday, according to SteelHome consultancy.

Dalian coking coal futures slipped for a third consecutive day and shed 1.7% to 2,492 yuan a tonne. Coke prices fell for the second straight session, down 2.1% at 3,275 yuan per tonne.

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