September 25, 2017 / 3:51 AM / a year ago

China coking coal, coke prices sink again amid oversupply worries

BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) - China’s steel raw materials extended recent losses on Monday, with coking coal down more than 5 percent and coke hitting its lowest in almost two months, as some factories reopened after recent environmental inspections, adding to glut worries, traders said.

Rebar steel and iron ore prices were also lower as the market continues worry about waning restocking demand at mills.

The most-active coking coal futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange tumbled as much as 6.5 percent in early trade on Monday to 1,137 yuan ($172.06) a tonne, the lowest since July 17. At 0320 GMT, they were down 5.1 percent at 1,154 yuan a tonne.

Coke futures dropped as much as more than 5 percent to an almost 2-month trough at 1,956 yuan a tonne.

“Some coke factories have resumed operations after recent environmental inspections. Inventories among traders and steel mills are pilling up,” said analysts at Orient Futures in a note.

Stockpiles of coking coal at steel mills had increased 100,000 tonnes to 15.96 million tonnes by Friday, according to data from Mysteel consultancy.

“Expectations of production curtailment at steel mills during the winter season also put pressure on restocking demand,” said a Shandong-based trader.

With national holidays and China’s party congress meeting approaching in October, mills have started to curb production to reduce emission. Some also closed to deal with environmental inspections in August and earlier this month.

The utilization rate at mills fell to 75 percent by Friday from 75.83 percent in the previous week, according to data from Mysteel.

The most-traded construction steel futures on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slid 0.5 percent to 3,581 yuan a tonne.

Spot rebar prices dropped 1.3 percent to 4254.04 yuan a tonne on Friday, data from Mysteel website showed.

Iron ore for January delivery on the Dalian Exchange fell nearly 1 percent to 465 yuan a tonne.

S&P’s downgrade last week of China’s credit rating continued to drag on the market, traders said.

$1 = 6.6080 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Muyu Xu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Joseph Radford

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