* Steel margins still firm despite rising raw materials
prices - BarCap
* Market digesting raft of policy news on coal, steel
BEIJING Jan 9 Chinese coking coal prices rose
for a fourth straight session on Monday, recovering from a 2-1/2
month low hit last week, as investors bet on tighter supplies
amid a crackdown on illegal mining by the world's top coal
The most-active coking coal futures on the Dalian
Commodity Exchange were up 2.9 percent at 1,190 yuan
($171.66)per tonne at 0519 GMT.
Prices have gained 8 percent over the past four sessions
after slipping to 1,106.5 yuan last week, the weakest since Oct.
The market continues to digest a raft of policy
announcements by the government aimed at closing inefficient,
outdated coal mines and steel mills.
Shanxi province, the country's top coal producer, said it
plans to cap output and consolidate the industry around big
producers over the next four years in a bid to boost effiency.
At the weekend, state media reported that the nation's
biggest steelmaking province Hebei expects to slash 31.86
million tonnes of steel and ironmaking capacity in 2017.
Coke was also higher, gaining 2.3 percent to 1,563 yuan per
While steelmaking raw material costs have been higher in the
past few weeks, analysts believe steel mills have maintained
their profit margins due to suspensions of operations as toxic
smog blanketed the north of the country in recent weeks.
"This disruption to steel supply may be acting to boost
margins for China's domestic steel producers," Barclays Capital
said in a note, adding that margins have remained high at 69
The most-active rebar contract for May delivery on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 1.5 percent at 2,988
yuan per tonne.
Iron ore prices on the Dalian Commodity Exchange
rose 1.5 percent to 555 yuan per tonne buoyed by robust demand
from China, even as the Australian government warned of a steep
decline in prices in 2017.
Confidence has recently been boosted by strong imports into
China - December iron ore shipments from Australia's Port
Hedland terminal hit a record 37.4 million tonnes in December.
Domestic stocks CUS-STKTOT-IORE dipped 0.4 percent to 108
million tonnes last week, although they are still at 2-1/1-year
(Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Richard Pullin)