* Shanghai rebar hits six-week high
* Spot iron ore on course to end week little changed
By Manolo Serapio Jr
MANILA, May 19 Shanghai rebar steel futures
climbed to a six-week peak on Friday and were on track for their
biggest weekly increase since January, supported by worries over
tighter supply as China sustains a crackdown against polluting
Tangshan city in Hebei province, China's biggest steelmaking
region, has an ongoing campaign through the end of May to
suspend and fine mills that fail to meet emission standards.
"It would take a while for any suspended mills to restart
their production. So maybe steel prices can keep improving till
middle of next month, then we will see a slowdown in the market
again," said a Shanghai-based trader.
The most active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange
rose as far as 3,223 yuan ($468) a tonne, its loftiest
since April 6. The construction steel product was up 3 percent
at 3,213 yuan by 0220 GMT and has gained 7 percent so far this
Declining rebar inventories also pointed to firm demand on
the ground, traders said.
Stocks of rebar at Chinese traders have fallen 46 percent
from a 10-month high in February to 4.51 million tonnes as of
May 12, according to data tracked by SteelHome consultancy.
Amid improving steel prices, futures of raw material iron
ore also advanced although gains were capped by plentiful supply
Inventory of imported iron ore at 46 Chinese ports reached
134.25 million tonnes on May 12, up 2.3 million tonnes from the
previous week, SteelHome said. SH-TOT-IRONINV
It was the biggest such inventory since SteelHome began
compiling the data in 2004.
Iron ore traded on the Dalian Commodity Exchange
rose 0.6 percent to 477 yuan per tonne.
Iron ore for delivery to China's Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB
slipped 1 percent to $61.60 a tonne on Thursday, according to
Metal Bulletin. The spot benchmark was up 0.4 percent so far
($1 = 6.8938 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Richard Pullin)