February 5, 2018 / 2:55 AM / 20 days ago

Chinese steel futures ease on thin trading; raw materials up

* Tepid steel demand and the holiday mood hit prices

* Heavy snows disrupt transportation of coking coal and coke

SHANGHAI, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Chinese steel futures fell on Monday as trading wound down ahead of the country’s new year holiday, although raw material prices were boosted by transport disruptions caused by heavy snows and icy weather.

Steel demand in the world’s top producer faltered as construction activity slowed due to cold weather and in the run-up to the Lunar New Year starting next Thursday.

The most active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slipped 0.2 percent to 3,942 yuan ($625.51) a tonne by 0212 GMT.

“The near-term futures will be fluctuating. It’s closer to the Spring Festival and traders have gradually left the market, which doesn’t have a clear trend now,” said Bai Jing, an analyst with Galaxy Futures in Beijing.

Icy weather and heavy snows in many regions have hit transportation of raw materials like coking coal and coke, lifting prices even as appetite from steel mills remains subdued.

Coke on the Dalian Commodity Exchange jumped more than 3 percent to 2,094.5 yuan a tonne in early trade, rising for a third straight session.

Coking coal rose 2.6 percent to 1,347 yuan a tonne and iron ore rose 1.2 percent to 519.5 yuan a tonne.

$1 = 6.3021 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Ruby Lian and Josephine Mason; editing by Richard Pullin

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