July 18, 2018 / 3:24 AM / 2 months ago

Shanghai steel rebounds on output crackdown, gains capped by slowing growth

* Steel prices rise after two-day fall, iron ore at 2-week top

* Production cuts due to pollution seen tightening supply

* Slowing Chinese growth likely to limit gains in steel futures

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, July 18 (Reuters) - Shanghai construction steel rebar prices edged higher on Wednesday, reversing a two-day losing streak, as pollution control measures in China’s top steelmaking city raised concerns over supplies.

The most-active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.5 percent to 3,946 yuan ($589.02) a tonne by 0310 GMT.

Tangshan has extended recent emergency pollution control measures until July 21 because of a possible major smog alert, according to a document seen by Reuters and a source familiar with the matter.

“Steel stocks are expected to be lower because of the reduction in output. Prices are on the higher side as supply remains tight,” said Cao Ying, analyst at SDIC Essence Futures.

The market has faced pressure in the last two session as data showed slowing growth in the Chinese economy and amid an intensifying trade spat with the United States.

China’s economy expanded at a slower pace in the second quarter as Beijing’s efforts to contain debt hurt activity, while a slowing property market also clouded the outlook for steel demand.

Steelmaking raw materials gained ground.

Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange added 0.7 percent to 467 yuan a tonne after climbing earlier in the session to 469 yuan a tonne, the highest since July 2.

Coke rose 0.8 percent to 2,011 yuan a tonne and coking coal gained 0.6 percent to 1,147 yuan a tonne.

Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton Ltd said iron ore production in its fiscal fourth quarter rose 3 percent as productivity improved, cementing a record annual output as it set a bigger target for the current year.

The world’s biggest miner’s iron ore output rose to 72 million tonnes during the three months through June, compared with 70 million tonnes a year ago.

“Both Rio Tinto and Vale reported output that exceeded market estimates, raising concerns that the market will suffer from a surge in exports in coming quarters,” ANZ said in a note. ($1 = 6.6993 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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