* Iron ore stocks rose again last week
* Steel, iron ore turnover on Tuesday lowest in more than a
By Josephine Mason and Muyu Xu
BEIJING, Jan 4 Chinese iron ore and steel rebar
prices eased again on Wednesday, with rebar hitting a six-week
low, amid continued concerns about weak demand and rising
Falling for a third straight session, iron ore on the Dalian
Commodity Exchange settled at 539 yuan ($77.53) per
tonne, down 2 percent.
Domestic stocks CUS-STKTOT-IORE remain at 2-1/2-year
highs, rising by 90,000 tonnes last week to almost 11 million
"The pullback results from the big amount of inventory,
whereas the downstream market is not active," said Liu Xinwei,
steel analyst at China Sublime Information Group, pointing to
the drop-off in construction activity during winter months.
The most-active rebar contract for May delivery on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped 0.75 percent to 2,914
yuan per tonne. Earlier in the session, it fell to 2,827 yuan,
its weakest since Nov. 22.
Average metal inventory at steel mills is between 8 and 10
days, significantly better than a month ago when stockpiles
could only support one day's needs, according to China Sublime.
Turnover has been low after the new year holiday and ahead
of China's week-long Lunar New Year holiday at the end of
On Wednesday, 2.7 million lots of steel changed hands, the
lowest daily volume since mid-December 2015 and just 1.01
million contracts of iron ore traded, the smallest amount since
Consumption typically slows during the cold winter months
when the construction sector ebbs, but analysts are also worried
about a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
A prolonged bout of toxic smog across the north of the
country has renewed concerns about slower manufacturing output,
forcing hundreds of factories including steel mills to scale
down production or close completely.
The government continues its crackdown on outdated capacity
in a bid to curb excess output, saying on Tuesday that it would
impose higher power prices on mills using outdated equipment.
($1 = 6.9525 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Josephine Mason and Muyu Xu; Editing by Richard
Pullin and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)