Shanghai rebar futures drift in narrow range as market awaits demand recovery

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BEIJING — Chinese steel rebar futures moved in a tight range on Wednesday, but hovered around a more than 10-year high, as the market awaited a rebound in downstream demand.

“Unlike the manufacturing sector that had returned to work, constructions normally restart after the Lantern Festival,” said Wang Yingwu, chief analyst with Huatai Futures in Beijing, adding that construction demand will peak in April.

The most active construction rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, for May delivery, edged up 0.2% to 4,591 yuan ($710.59) per tonne as of 0330 GMT.

Hot rolled coil futures, used in cars and home appliances, dipped 0.3% to 4,806 yuan a tonne.

Wang expected growth for steel products used in the manufacturing industry to reach 8-10% in 2021, while for the property sector at 2-4%.

Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange declined 0.4% to 1,120 yuan per tonne, following a drop in spot prices.

The Platts iron ore index (IODEX) for 62% Fe content, the industry benchmark, fell by $2.85 to $172.75 a tonne on Tuesday.

Shipments of the steelmaking ingredient to China stood at 56.47 million tonnes as of Feb.24, compared with 73 million tonnes the full month year ago, Refinitiv vessel-tracking data showed.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Dalian coking coal slipped 0.1% to 1,476 yuan per tonne.

* Coke futures fell 1.8% to 2,555 yuan a tonne.

* Stainless steel futures on the Shanghai bourse, for April delivery, faded 1.1% to 15,215 yuan per tonne.

* An aerospace parts maker in California is struggling to procure cold-rolled steel, while an auto and appliance parts manufacturer in Indiana is unable to secure additional supplies of hot-rolled steel from mills.

($1 = 6.4608 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Min Zhang and Shivani Singh; Editing by Rashmi Aich)