* Smog eases in some parts of China but mills wary
* Spot iron ore down for fourth day on Wednesday
By Manolo Serapio Jr
MANILA, Dec 22 Chinese steel and iron ore
futures skidded on Thursday as a smog that engulfed northern
cities of the country this week slowed trading activity.
The smog has thinned in some parts including in the port
city of Tianjin, but traders say many steel mills exercised
caution on worries that air pollution may worsen again in the
next few days.
The most-active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange
was down 2.4 percent at 3,083 yuan ($444) a tonne by
On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, iron ore dropped
1.7 percent to 558 yuan a tonne.
Both commodities have lost at least 13 percent since hitting
nearly three-year highs last week. They gained marginally on
Wednesday after a five-day slide.
Some mills were starting to purchase iron ore again with the
smog easing on Thursday, but they are still cautious about the
weather, said a trader based in Tianjin.
"If this weekend the smog returns then mills will stop or
limit production again," he said.
Blue skies returned to Beijing on Thursday after winds
dispelled dangerously high levels of air pollution that had
blanketed the Chinese capital for five days prompting a
pollution red alert, but large parts of northern China remain
under choking smog.
The Air Quality Index in Beijing spiked to more than 400
overnight, but by morning had dropped to about 50.
Iron ore for delivery to China's Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB
slipped 0.5 percent to $79.19 a tonne on Wednesday, according to
Metal Bulletin, falling for a fourth straight day.
"Due to the air pollution in northern China, deliveries from
northern mills to eastern China decreased sharply," Metal
Bulletin said in a note.
($1 = 6.9466 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Sunil Nair)