December 26, 2018 / 3:08 AM / 3 months ago

Dalian coke futures extend losses as demand concerns persist

* China will not relax anti-pollution campaign targets

* Steel-making cities tighten anti-pollution rules

* Dalian coke futures extend fall for 3rd day

MANILA, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Dalian coke futures fell on Wednesday for a third session amid concerns over weak demand for the steelmaking raw material, with Beijing vowing not to relax its anti-pollution campaign that has forced steel mills to reduce output or even halt operations.

China will adopt more efficient and targeted measures during its campaign against pollution next year, but will not relax the targets or ease the crackdown on violators, the environment ministry said in a statement on Monday night.

The statement comes as steel-making cities have tightened their anti-pollution rules, including the world’s biggest steelmaking city of Tangshan, which has ordered steel mills to shut all their sintering machines, which process iron ore before smelting, for the last 10 days of the year.

Tangshan, located in Hebei province, accounted for more than 10 percent of the country’s steel output last year. At least three other cities in Hebei have issued smog-alerts and asked steel plants to reduce output by 30 percent.

The most-active coke futures for May delivery on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell as much as 2.1 percent to 1,880.5 yuan ($272.97) a tonne, extending losses for a third session.

Coking coal was up 0.2 percent at 1,177 yuan a tonne as of 0236 GMT, after slipping as much as 0.7 percent earlier in the session.

Dalian iron ore prices rose 1 percent to 491 yuan a tonne, after easing by 0.3 percent earlier in the session.

Beijing has ditched blanket production cuts on heavy industries as part of its anti-pollution campaign and allowed local authorities to adopt measures based on regional emission levels.

However, declining air quality in the past two months in northern China has stirred concerns that the government is easing up on violators.

Following the environment ministry’s statement, steel prices were mixed with the most-active rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange up 0.4 percent at 3,414 yuan a tonne. Hot rolled coil dropped 0.4 percent to 3,365 yuan.

($1 = 6.8890 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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