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China coking coal, coke futures gain as COVID-19 curbs stoke supply concerns

Chinese steel ingredients futures gained on Friday, with coking coal surging nearly 7% and coke up 4.7%, as fresh restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections hindered mills from restocking raw materials, stoking fears of tight supply.

The top steelmaking province of Hebei had reported 90 new confirmed cases for Jan. 14. Local government had strengthened controls to prevent further transmissions to other places.

Transportation of some steelmaking ingredients, mostly coal and coke that are sent via trucks, has been affected by the curbs. A research from Mysteel consultancy showed 36% of all mills in Tangshan has coke inventories for fewer than seven days, arousing supply issues.

Capacity utilisation rates at 126 blast furnaces in Tangshan fell to 78.84% this week, down 1.72% from a week earlier, according to Mysteel.

The most-traded coking coal futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, for May delivery, soared as much as 6.8% to 1,767 yuan ($273.23) a tonne, before ending 4.4% firmer at 1,727 yuan.

Coke futures closed 1.5% higher at 2,775 yuan. It rose 4.7% earlier in the session.

Benchmark iron ore futures rose 1.5% to 1,053 yuan a tonne, and spot prices of 62% iron ore gained by $1 to $172.5 per tonne on Thursday.

FUNDAMENTALS
* Construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 1.9% to 4,360 yuan per tonne.

* Hot-rolled coil was up 1.4% at 4,489 yuan.

* Steel inventories at mills and with traders stood at 15.2 million tonnes, as of Jan. 14, up 5.5% from the week earlier.

* Shanghai stainless steel futures, for March delivery, closed 0.7% higher to 13,970 yuan a tonne.

* China’s new homes prices grew moderately in December, official data showed on Friday, as government measures aimed at cooling the property market took their toll.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Min Zhang and Shivani Singh, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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