September 25, 2019 / 3:09 AM / 24 days ago

China's stainless steel futures make lacklustre market debut

* Shanghai stainless steel falls up to 2% in first day of trade

* China seeks to enhance pricing influence for stainless steel

* Dalian coke slumps more than 3%, coking coal extends losses

By Enrico Dela Cruz and Tom Daly

MANILA/BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Chinese stainless steel futures fell by 2% in their first session of trading on Wednesday, after U.S. President Donald Trump’s stinging rebuke of China fanned demand concerns amid a bruising trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

The front-month February 2020 stainless steel contract fell to a low of 15,280 yuan shortly after it opened 10 yuan lower at 15,575 yuan ($2,190.88) a tonne on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE). It was down 0.1% at 15,575 yuan by 0233 GMT.

Trump delivered a stinging rebuke to China’s trade practices on Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly, saying he would not accept a “bad deal” in U.S.-China trade negotiations.

“Trump’s speech cast a pall on investor sentiment, and that’s hurting a lot of commodities markets,” said Daniel Hynes, a senior commodity strategist at ANZ Research.

Stainless steel inventory in the world’s top producer and consumer of the metal has been rising amid a downbeat demand outlook.

The inventory has doubled from the start of the year and was at 588,000 tonnes as of Sept. 12, according to data from Argonaut Securities. From a year-ago level, it was up 37%.

“The launch of stainless steel futures provides an effective risk management tool for companies,” said ShFE Chairman Jiang Yan in a speech during the opening ceremony for stainless steel futures.

“It will also enhance China’s pricing influence as the world’s biggest stainless steel producer and consumer.”

FUNDAMENTALS

* Zhang Jingang, Baowu Steel Group vice general manager, said the company’s two stainless steel production bases, Baosteel Desheng and Ningbo Baoxin, had actively supported the listing of the ShFE’s stainless steel futures since 2018 and become their first registered brands.

* Coke led the losses in China’s futures markets for ferrous metals, with the most-traded January 2020 contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange dropping as much as 3.3% to 1,875 yuan a tonne.

* Dalian coking coal extended losses into a seventh session, falling as much as 2.l% to 1,241 yuan a tonne.

* Dalian iron ore slumped as much as 2.5% to 619 yuan a tonne.

* Shanghai steel futures retreated after Tuesday’s gains, with Shanghai construction steel rebar down 1.0% at 3,480 yuan a tonne.

* Hot-rolled steel coil, used in cars and home appliances, slipped 0.5% to 3,505 yuan a tonne.

$1 = 7.1090 yuan Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz in Manila and Tom Daly in Beijing; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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