* More snow will hit coal transportation
* Mills increase restocking to avoid interruption
* Steel demand remains weak (Updates close prices)
SHANGHAI, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Chinese coking coal futures extended gains on Wednesday as steel mills accelerated restocking of the raw material on concerns that snows forecast for northern regions could disrupt transportation.
Coking coal futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rose as much as 3 percent to 1,372 yuan ($210.90) a tonne before closing at 1,352 yuan a tonne, up 2 percent.
“The snowy weather is expected to hit more northern regions, which would interrupt the transportation of coal and promote mills to increase buying ahead of bad weather,” said a trader in Shanxi.
Some coke producers in Shanxi province, China’s top coke producing region, have been ordered to raise production to increase coke oven gas that can be turned into liquefied natural gas, also boosting appetite for coking coal.
Among other steel making raw materials, iron ore eased 0.7 percent at 536 yuan a tonne and coke inched up 0.5 percent to 2,015 yuan a tonne by close.
The most active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped 0.9 percent to 3,809 yuan a tonne as seasonal weakness continued pressuring prices.
“Physical market remains soft and transactions are tepid. Prices are expected to weaken further,” said a futures broker in Shanghai.
Iron ore for delivery to China’s Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB rose $2.10 to $74.71 a tonne on Tuesday from Dec.29, according to Metal Bulletin. ($1 = 6.5054 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Ruby Lian and Ryan Woo; editing by Richard Pullin and Sunil Nair)