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Shanghai steel rebar, HRC futures range-bound on lean downstream demand

Chinese steel rebar and hot-rolled coil futures traded in a tight range on Friday and posted weekly losses as COVID-19-related restrictions and heavy rains dented downstream demand.

China has been trying to strengthen its economy hit by the COVID outbreak, rolling out measures to help small firms and stabilize jobs and relaxing controls in the property market.

However, its strict lockdowns are expected to “continue to weigh on industrial activity, resulting in weaker demand for metals,” ANZ Research said in a note.

Furthermore, heavy rains in southwest and southern China weighed on short-term construction material demand, while falling raw material prices will no longer underpin steel prices, said Haitong Futures.

The most-active steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange for October delivery inched up 0.3% to 4,670 yuan ($686.6) a tonne, but slipped 1.4% this week.

Hot-rolled coils, used in the manufacturing sector, edged 0.3% higher to 4,767 yuan a tonne at close. They shed 1.3% for the week.

Stainless steel, for June delivery, on the Shanghai bourse fell 0.9% to 18,830 yuan per tonne.

Benchmark iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange , for September delivery, closed up 1% at 823 yuan a tonne, recovering from losses in early session. The ingredient rose 0.2% this week, the first weekly gain in four.

Spot prices of iron ore with 62% iron content for delivery to China dropped $4 to $125.5 on Thursday, according to SteelHome consultancy.

Dalian coking coal prices declined 1.5% to 2,574 yuan per tonne and coke futures were down 0.6% at 3,340 yuan a tonne.

Capacity utilization rates at 247 steel mills improved slightly to 82.6%, as of Friday, up 0.7% from a week earlier, data from Mysteel consultancy showed, as plants gradually restored production.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Min Zhang in Beijing and Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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