China steel futures extend gains on high raw material prices, PMI data

1 November 2016

Chinese steel futures extended gains on Tuesday after the manufacturing sector expanded in October at its fastest pace in more than two years and as steelmaking raw material prices remained strong amid tight supply.

The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) that gauges the activity in China's manufacturing sector stood at 51.2 in October, stronger than expectations and above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

"The PMI data suggested a stabalizing economy and that steel demand from the manufacturing sector remains solid, while the stretched supply shortage of coal has kept increasing mills' production costs," said Zhao Chaoyue, an analyst with Merchant Futures in Shenzhen.

More expensive raw materials have prompted Jiangsu Shagang Group, China's top private steelmaker, to raise prices of some products by 100 yuan ($14.76) a tonne for early November. Rebar, used for construction, will rise to 2,700 yuan a tonne, traders said.

"The tightness in transportation capacity and coal supply may not be alleviated soon," Zhao added.

The most active rebar futures on the Shanghai Futures Exchange had risen 1.6 percent to 2,622 yuan a tonne by midday. They earlier touched their highest since Aug. 17 at 2,628 yuan.

Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange climbed 1 percent to 499.5 yuan a tonne.

Coke futures advanced 1.2 percent to 1,780 yuan a tonne and coking coal edged up 0.4 percent to 1,294 yuan a tonne, both having surged about 50 percent since the end of August.

Iron ore for delivery to China's Tianjin port .IO62-CNI=SI advanced 1.1 percent to $63.8 a tonne, the highest since the end of April, according to data from The Steel Index.


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