April 26, 2019 / 2:17 AM / a month ago

Dalian iron ore ticks up on firm demand at steel mills

* Utilisation rates reach 70.58 pct - Mysteel

* Mills unwilling to accept higher coke prices - traders

* Steel inventory falls to 12.72 mln T - Mysteel

BEIJING, April 26 (Reuters) - China’s iron ore futures drifted up on Friday after falling for three days, supported by firm demand at steel mills who are ramping up output to cash in fat profits.

Weekly utilisation rates at mills across the nation continued to rise this week as of April 26, up 0.55 percentage points from last week to 70.58 percent, data compiled by Mysteel consultancy showed.

Steel mills are dashing to churn out more products before low season for construction activities kicks in May, when southern China enters rainy season.

Profit margins of steel-making at mills have climbed to over 700 yuan a tonne after a steep drop in November last year.

The most-active iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange edged up 0.2 percent to 622 yuan ($92.37) a tonne as of 0204 GMT.

Dalian coking coal rose 0.6 percent to 1,356 yuan, while coke prices dipped 0.1 percent to 2,046 yuan.

Some coke plants in top steelmaking province of Hebei were seeking to take advantage of increasing profit margins at mills by raising coke prices by 100 yuan a tonne. However, mills are reluctant to accept the higher prices as many of them were ordered to crimp more output in May, traders said.

Benchmark Shanghai rebar prices stayed little changes on Friday at 3,746 yuan.

Inventory of steel products at Chinese traders continued to fall this week, but a slower pace. It reduced 611,300 tonnes from last week to 12.72 million tonnes, Mysteel data showed.

Rebar stocks were at 6.73 million tonnes and hot-rolled coil stocks were at 2.08 million tonnes as of April 26. ($1 = 6.7341 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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