October 18, 2018 / 3:46 AM / 2 years ago

Dalian iron ore hits 7-month high amid falling China stockpiles

    * Iron ore stocks at China ports lowest since Dec 2017
    * Coking coal holds near 13-month peak

    By Manolo Serapio Jr
    MANILA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Chinese iron ore futures jumped
to their highest in more than seven months on Thursday amid firm
demand for the steelmaking raw material with stockpiles at
China's ports dropping to the lowest this year.
    Iron ore inventory at China's ports reached 142.5 million
tonnes last week, the smallest since December 2017, and down 12
percent from a record 161.98 million tonnes reached in June,
according to data tracked by SteelHome consultancy.
    The rally in iron ore built on Wednesday's sharp gains and
followed a surge in prices of fellow steel ingredient coking
coal to a 13-month peak in the previous session.
    The most-traded January iron ore on the Dalian Commodity
Exchange           hit a session high of 532 yuan ($77) a tonne,
its strongest since March 8. It was up 2 percent at 524 yuan by
the midday break, adding to Wednesday's rise of 2.7 percent.
    China's more flexible approach to industrial production
curbs in winter by allowing regions to set their own
restrictions is expected to spur demand for raw materials,
traders said. 
    It's the second straight winter that China is implementing
the curbs as part of its battle against pollution.
    "There's good demand and this may last until the end of
October," said a Shanghai-based iron ore trader.
    "The port stockpiles have already come down. As long as they
will not rise in a big way that will not cause a big concern for
the market," he said.
    Coking coal          rose 0.7 percent to 1,399.50 yuan a
tonne, not far below Wednesday's 13-month high of 1,412.50 yuan.
Coke          eased 0.1 percent to 2,466 yuan.
    Construction steel product rebar on the Shanghai Futures
Exchange          was last up 0.4 percent at 4,171 yuan, after
initially touching 4,220 yuan, its loftiest since Sept. 11.     

    ($1 = 6.9356 Chinese yuan)

 (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr., Editing by Sherry
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