December 28, 2018 / 3:11 AM / a month ago

Prices for Shanghai steel, steelmaking ingredients ease in listless market

* Demand concerns weigh on steel prices

* China’s economic growth seen slowing in 2019

By Enrico Dela Cruz

MANILA, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Prices of steel and steelmaking ingredients in China fell on Friday in lethargic trading, pressured by worries over the outlook for demand amid ongoing concerns about the global economy.

Business confidence among entrepreneurs in China worsened in the fourth quarter compared with the previous one, and was at the lowest since the second quarter of 2017, according to a survey by the People’s Bank of China published early this week.

The most-active steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was down 0.3 percent at 3,413 yuan ($497.57) a tonne at 0221 GMT. Hot rolled coil was down 0.2 percent at 3,345 yuan.

Mirroring the trend in the Shanghai metals market, prices of steelmaking raw materials such as coke and coking coal also dropped.

“(Investors) are more fixated on recession jitters and continued weak macro numbers coming out of China”, said INTL FCStone commodity consultant Edward Meir.

The most traded coke futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 0.9 percent to 1,892.5 yuan a tonne. Coking coal futures edged down 0.3 percent to 1,178.5 yuan.

Dalian iron ore futures climbed 0.4 percent to 493.5 yuan.

Spot iron ore for delivery to China SH-CCN-IRNOR62 rose 0.4 percent to $72.30 a tonne on Thursday, according to SteelHome consultancy.

China will ratchet up support for the economy in 2019 by cutting taxes and keeping liquidity ample, as growth is expected to slow further next year, the country’s top leaders said in an annual economic meeting this month.

($1 = 6.8593 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz Editing by Joseph Radford

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