January 26, 2018 / 1:54 AM / 6 months ago

Chinese steel futures drop on tepid winter demand

* Seasonal weakness in demand weigh on prices

* Mills cut production, denting appetite for raw materials

SHANGHAI, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Chinese steel prices fell on Friday, as demand stood tepid in winter months, weighing down raw materials.

Construction activities have been stalled due to the frigid weather, denting consumption for steel, while other industrial activities slowed down ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday starting mid-February.

“Snows hit more regions in China this week and physical demand has remained weak. Prices could keep fluctuating within a narrow range before spring,” said a steel trader in Shanghai.

The most active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was down 0.3 percent at 3,945 yuan ($624.32) a tonne, as of 0130 GMT. It was on track for a third straight weekly gains.

Chinese steel mills have been cutting production since mid-November as the government ordered producers in 28 cities to trim output to reduce air pollution, curbing appetite for iron ore and coke, the two main raw materials.

Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 1.9 percent at 517 yuan ($81.82) a tonne.

Coke climbed 0.3 percent to 2,042.5 yuan a tonne and coking coal dipped 0.2 percent to 1,305 yuan a tonne.

Iron ore for delivery to China’s Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB rose 51 cents at $75.04 a tonne on Thursday, according to Metal Bulletin.

$1 = 6.3189 Chinese yuan Reporting by Ruby Lian and Josephine Mason; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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