April 12, 2018 / 3:17 AM / 11 days ago

China coking coal, coke sink over 3 pct on slow demand, trade woes

* Dalian iron ore down nearly 1.5 pct, rebar off about 1 pct

* Market still waiting for bigger pickup in steel demand -CRU

* China says won’t hesitate to fight back if U.S. escalates row

By Manolo Serapio Jr

MANILA, April 12 (Reuters) - Coking coal and coke futures in China fell more than 3 percent on Thursday, pressured by slow seasonal demand for steel in the world’s top consumer, with fellow raw material iron ore also weaker.

Worries over trade tensions between China and the United States also weighed on investor sentiment. Beijing said it is well prepared and will not hesitate to fight back if Washington escalates the trade row, adding that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge to cut import tariffs is not a concession.

The most-traded September coking coal on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was down 3.3 percent at 1,132.50 yuan ($180) a tonne by 0355 GMT and coke slipped 3.1 percent to 1,729 yuan. Both initially fell to two-week lows.

Iron ore dropped 1.4 percent to 447.50 yuan per tonne.

While a sustained drop in steel inventories at Chinese traders suggested demand has been picking up, “we’re still waiting for a larger scale improvement,” said Richard Lu, an analyst at CRU consultancy.

“The steel price has been going up and down at the moment because we haven’t seen a very solid improvement in demand,” said Lu.

The most-active October rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was down 0.7 percent at 3,397 yuan a tonne.

Stockpiles of rebar, a construction steel product, among Chinese traders fell for a third consecutive week last week, easing to 8.73 million tonnes from a five-year high of nearly 10 million tonnes in mid-March, data compiled by SteelHome consultancy showed. SH-TOT-RBARINV

Concerns over trade frictions between China and the United States also continued to dampen sentiment.

In particular, CRU’s Lu said investors are more worried about the U.S. tariffs aimed at forcing changes to Chinese government policies designed to transfer U.S. intellectual property to Chinese companies.

“They will impact the macroeconomy in China, so people are more worried about that,” he said.

Iron ore for delivery to China’s Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB eased 0.8 percent to $64.79 a tonne on Wednesday, according to Metal Bulletin.

$1 = 6.2762 Chinese yuan Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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