July 23, 2019 / 2:36 AM / 3 months ago

China iron ore edges lower as steel output curbs intensify

* China’s steel hub Tangshan steps up anti-smog curbs

* Vale Q2 iron ore output falls 33.8% after dam break

By Enrico Dela Cruz

MANILA, July 23 (Reuters) - Iron ore futures in China edged lower for a second session on Tuesday, pressured by weak demand in the wake of more output restrictions on steel producers in the country’s top steelmaking city of Tangshan.

The most-actively traded September iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell as much as 2.4% to 874 yuan ($127.03) a tonne in early trade, its lowest since July 15.

The benchmark was down 0.6% as of 0215 GMT, with losses kept in check following news that Vale SA’s second-quarter iron ore production plunged nearly 34% from a year ago, as the Brazilian miner reaffirmed its 2019 sales guidance.

Vale, the world’s top iron ore exporter, said on Monday that its second-quarter iron ore production shrank as many of its key dams remained shut or partially shut after a deadly dam burst in January.

“Investors mulled over the impact of further curbs on the Chinese steel industry,” ANZ Research said in a note, citing the latest notice from Tangshan on steel output curbs.

Tangshan has stepped up anti-pollution measures beginning July 21 until July 31 as it seeks to meet its air quality targets, a city government-backed newspaper reported on Monday.

Steel mills with “A level of emission”, the cleanest in a four-tier emission level system set by the city, and those located in costal regions, will have to curb their sintering operations by 20% over the period.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Benchmark spot 62% iron ore for delivery to China SH-CCN-IRNOR62 was down 1.6% at $120 a tonne on Monday, data from SteelHome consultancy showed.

* Vale’s second-quarter iron ore output was down 12% from the previous quarter to 64 million tonnes, more than 10 million tonnes lower than the market had assumed, according to ANZ.

* The most-active steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 0.1% at 3,966 yuan a tonne, while hot-rolled steel used in cars and home appliances edged up 0.5% to 3,899 yuan.

* Dalian coking coal fell 1.1% to 1,392 yuan a tonne and coke slipped 0.2% to 2,158 yuan.

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($1 = 6.8803 yuan)

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; editing by Richard Pullin

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