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UPDATE 2-As supply shrinks, coking coal jumps 10 pct, leads broad China commodities rally
November 7, 2016 / 4:37 AM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 2-As supply shrinks, coking coal jumps 10 pct, leads broad China commodities rally

* Coking coal surges by 10 pct limit, coke up 7 pct

* China mills’ coking coal stocks at all-time low - Argonaut

* Shanghai rebar jumps 6 pct to highest since 2014

* Iron ore futures play catch-up, China port stocks at 2-year high (Recasts to add rally in other commodities, updates prices)

By Manolo Serapio Jr

MANILA, Nov 7 (Reuters) - The price of coking coal and coke, the raw materials used to make steel, surged on Monday amid tight supply and renewed appetite for risky assets, leading a broad rally in Chinese commodities from base metals to eggs.

Outside China, investors also snapped up other industrial commodities and shunned gold after the FBI cleared U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for using a private email server, giving the Democrat a last-minute boost ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Coking coal futures soared 10 percent and coke jumped 7 percent - both hitting their upside limit - while steel rose 6 percent to its highest level in more than two years.

Beijing’s big push to curb overcapacity in coal has shuttered many mines across the country, limiting supply available to domestic consumers and fueling a rally this year.

Coking coal may be in tighter supply than thermal coal used for power, traders and analysts say, as Chinese steel mills struggle to source supply of the fuel.

The most-traded coking coal for January delivery on the Dalian Commodity Exchange climbed 10 percent to close at the exchange-set ceiling of 1,516 yuan ($224) a tonne, a record high.

Coke also climbed by its 7 percent limit to hit 2,001.50 yuan per tonne, its loftiest since March 2013.

Inventory of coking coal among major Chinese steel companies had dropped to nine days, an all-time low, said Argonaut Securities analyst Helen Lau.

“The market remains very tight. At the same time overall steel demand is good supported by infrastructure, so mills are able to pass on the higher cost of raw material,” said Lau.

Coking coal is in tighter supply in China than thermal coal, said Zhang Min, an analyst with China Sublime Information Group.

“Overall steel mills have not swung into losses so (they) have not put much pressure on Beijing to tame price gains as utilities did,” said Zhang.

EGGS TO REBAR

Other outperformers in the widespread rally included egg futures, which rose by 5 percent, also a daily limit. Nickel and tin too went limit-up, rising 6 percent and 5 percent respectively.

Rebar, a construction steel product, rose by its 6 percent ceiling on the Shanghai Futures Exchange to 2,889 yuan a tonne, its highest since September 2014.

Steel prices were also supported by tighter supply after Chinese authorities launched fresh efforts to reduce steel output in Tangshan, a major production area, to control smog in the capital Beijing and elsewhere, said Argonaut Securities analyst Lau.

Iron ore, mostly flat in morning trade, caught with the rest of the ferrous market in the afternoon, although gains were more modest. Dalian iron ore closed up 3.3 percent at 520 yuan a tonne.

Unlike coal, supply of iron ore in China remains high with stocks of imported iron ore at the country’s major ports at 108.6 million tonnes as of Nov. 4, the most since November 2014, according to data tracked by consultancy SteelHome. SH-TOT-IRONINV

($1 = 6.7744 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Additional reporting by Meng Meng in BEIJING; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Sunil Nair

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