Dalian coke scales 11-week high on China regulatory curbs
By Enrico Dela Cruz
July 27 (Reuters) - Dalian coke futures rose for a third straight session on Tuesday to hit an 11-week peak, while coking coal scaled a new contract high, underpinned by concerns over supply of the steelmaking inputs in top steel producer China.
The most-traded coke for September delivery on China's Dalian Commodity Exchange DCJcv1 ended daytime trading up 1.2% at 2,863 yuan ($441.55) a tonne, after earlier touching 2,910 yuan, its strongest level since May 12.
Coking coal DJMcv1 edged up 0.1% at 2,135 yuan a tonne, off a contract-high 2,190.50 yuan.
Domestic supply of coke, which is used as a reducing agent in melting key steelmaking ingredient iron ore in blast furnaces, has tightened as producers have also been affected by stricter regulations on carbon emissions.
"Both supply and demand have declined... but the tight balance is still maintained," Sinosteel Futures analysts said in a note, adding costlier coking coal also provided support to coke prices.
Rising costs of steelmaking inputs could make it difficult for China to rein in high prices of steel products, which have already eroded profits at its industrial sector.
Profit growth at China's industrial firms slowed for the fourth straight month in June, as high raw material prices weighed on factories' margins, pointing to some weakness in the recovery of the world's second-biggest economy.
Shanghai steel futures hovered near 10-week peaks earlier in the session before wiping out gains.
Construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SRBcv1 fell 1.3%, wiping out earlier gains, while hot-rolled coil SHHCcv1 slumped 1.4%. Stainless steel SHSScv1 dropped 2% after scaling a record high.
Dalian iron ore DCIOcv1 shed 2.8%, and iron ore on the Singapore Exchange SZZFU1 dropped 0.7% by 0716 GMT.
Capacity utilisation rates at blast furnaces in China remained elevated in the first week of July, SteelHome consultancy data showed, but may decline as production curtailments intensify, analysts said.
China steel mills' capacity utilisation rates remain highhttps://tmsnrt.rs/3BEHkwV
(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Amy Caren Daniel)
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