August 13, 2019 / 7:59 AM / 4 days ago

UPDATE 1-China's steel futures rise on production limits, iron ore extends losses

* Steel futures rises as much as 2.9%

* Dalian iron ore moving within tight range (Updates closing prices; adds quotes and details)

BEIJING, Aug 13 (Reuters) - China’s steel futures picked up on Tuesday, rising as much as 2.9%, as some steel mills began to limit production on recent price falls and an expected softening in demand.

The most-active construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, for October delivery, rose 1.7% to 3,662 yuan ($518.88) per tonne as of 0215 GMT. It closed up 2.14% on 3,677 yuan ($520.43) a tonne.

“Some steel firms have reached the breakeven levels and have been actively limiting production,” said Richard Lu, senior analyst at metals consultancy CRU Group’s Beijing office.

“Demand for rebar is expected to soften in the second half of this year and would be in line with the real estate market,” Lu said.

The most-traded iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, for January delivery, was trading within tight range and picked up for the first time in August. It closed up 0.4% at 628 yuan.

Port stocks of seaborne iron ore across China stood at 122.5 million tonnes as of August 11, after rising for almost a month, weekly data tracked by SteelHome consultancy showed. SH-TOT-IRONINV

“The recent sharp price fall in iron ore was driven by looser market conditions in China,” Goldman Sachs wrote in a note, “nonetheless, the iron ore market remains tight.”

“2019 is on track to post the seaborne market’s first deficit in seven years, and the widest since at least 2000,” it added.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Benchmark spot 62% iron ore for delivery to China SH-CCN-IRNOR62 was down 3.2% at $90.5 a tonne on Monday, the lowest level in over four months, SteelHome data showed.

* Hot-rolled steel used in cars and home appliances rose 0.9% to 3,660 yuan a tonne.

* Other steelmaking inputs were trading mixed, with Dalian coking coal closing almost flat at 1,414 yuan a tonne while coke gained 0.7% to 1,984 yuan.

* Brazil’s mining regulator on Monday pushed back deadlines by up to four years to close dangerous tailing dams.

* China’s vehicle sales fell in July for a 13th consecutive month and new energy vehicle sales contracted for the first time in over two years.

* Fitch Ratings expects China’s steel production to drop after rising to record in the first half amid weaker domestic demand and rising trade friction.

* For the top stories metals and other news, click or ($1 = 7.0575 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Min Zhang and Shivani Singh; editing by Richard Pullin and Uttaresh.V)

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