China’s construction steel rebar prices jumped 1.7 percent on Friday to their highest since 2013, buoyed by strong demand and expectations of lower production after pollution curbs in the country’s top production centres.
The most-active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 1.7 percent to 4,072 yuan a tonne by 0202 GMT, after earlier climbing to 4,078 yuan a tonne, its highest since February 2013. Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange gained 2.8 percent to 489 yuan a tonne.
The other steelmaking materials also gained. Coke was up 2.7 percent to 2,191.5 yuan a tonne and coking coal added 1.1 percent to 1,204.5 yuan a tonne.
“The China Iron & Steel Association warned that the industry had enjoyed much stability in the first half, however it warned that this wasn’t guaranteed to continue,” ANZ said in a note.
“It did point out that demand remains strong, with production at high levels, which is forcing inventories to fall.”
For the week, rebar is up 2.3 percent while iron ore has gained 4.3 percent.
The environmental ministry said on Monday it had extended monthly air quality rankings to 169 cities from 74, in order to add pressure on local authorities as it intensifies its campaign against air pollution.
The market has been betting on tighter supplies due to stringent production curbs in Tangshan, the country’s top steelmaking city in Hebei province.
Brazil’s Vale, the world’s top iron ore producer, boosted hopes of strong demand. It forecast steady prices for the mineral and rising premiums for its top quality ore, thanks to strong demand from China and despite global trade tensions.
Global crude steel output, a gauge of economic health, rose 4.6 percent in the first half of this year versus the same period last year, as strong margins prompted mills in major producing countries to ramp up, industry data showed on Thursday.
Crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 881.5 million tonnes in the first half. In June, it rose 5.8 percent versus June last year to 151.4 million tonnes, worldsteel said.
As trade tensions escalate between Washington and Beijing, the U.S. Senate quietly passed legislation on Thursday that would lower trade barriers on hundreds of items made in China.