* Heavy smog blankets northern China for fourth day
* Tianjin port halts operations due to smog - traders
By Manolo Serapio Jr
MANILA, Dec 21 Chinese steel and iron ore
futures ended higher on Wednesday after a five-day slide, but
gains were tepid as heavy smog that has enveloped most of
northern China curbed demand for the two commodities.
Construction activity has halted and many steel mills were
ordered to reduce output to help rein in emissions, traders say,
as northern Chinese cities including the capital Beijing saw
thick smog for a fourth day.
Tianjin port, one of China's busiest, has stopped handling
coal, iron ore and other non-liquid products, traders familiar
with the move said on Tuesday.
"I can't see anything from my window," said a Tianjin-based
trader who has opted to stay home given the poor visibility in
the city. "Our cargo agent will inform me when the port will
The most-traded iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange
closed 0.8 percent higher at 573 yuan ($82) a tonne
after falling as far as 553.50 yuan. Still, the contract has
lost 13 percent since hitting a nearly three-year high last
Due to the heavy smog, authorities have asked mills in
northern China including in the top steel-producing province
Hebei to restrict production, said a trader in Shanghai.
"Some mills are not running on full capacity to reduce
emissions," he said, adding that steel supply was high.
Rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged up 0.4
percent to 3,169 yuan per tonne. The construction steel product
has fallen 11 percent since touching a 32-month peak last week.
Physical iron ore trading had a similarly bearish tone,
pushing the spot price back below $80 a tonne.
Iron ore for delivery to China's Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB
slid 2 percent to $79.62 a tonne on Tuesday, according to Metal
Bulletin. The spot benchmark touched a two-year high of $83.58
on Dec. 12.
($1 = 6.9498 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier
and Subhranshu Sahu)