December 18, 2017 / 7:46 AM / a month ago

Chinese steel raw materials rally as mills restock

* Coking coal hits upward limit of 8 pct

* Iron ore up 7.1 pct, coke up 6.6 pct

* Steel up 1.8 pct

SHANGHAI, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Chinese steelmaking raw materials surged on Monday as steel producers restocked ahead of an expected recovery in output after winter cutbacks.

Chinese steelmakers have cut production as the government ordered industrial plants in 28 cities to slash output between mid-November and mid-March to reduce air pollution.

Coking coal futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange hit a limit-high of 8 percent at 1,350.5 yuan ($204.24) a tonne.

“Steel mills will eventually resume output after March, so they did some restocking given they are still making a high profit, with spot coke prices were previously at low levels,” said Jin Tao, an analyst with Guotai Jun‘an Futures in Shanghai.

Spot coke prices also surged more than 400 yuan a tonne since the beginning of December to 2,290 yuan a tonne, lifted by mills buying, analysts said.

Dalian iron ore futures had climbed 7.1 percent to 536 yuan a tonne by the close, and coke surged 6.6 percent to 2,159.5 yuan a tonne.

The strong rally in raw materials prices pushed up rebar futures. The most active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 1.8 percent to end at 3,874 yuan a tonne.

Iron ore for delivery to China’s Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB advanced 2.2 percent to $71.5 a tonne last Friday, according to Metal Bulletin.

$1 = 6.6122 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Ruby Lian and Josephine Mason; Editing by Joseph Radford

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