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February 7, 2017

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Prices of coal, steel futures decline

STEEL and coal futures prices yesterday fell for the second straight day, as weak demand for industrial commodities hurt investor sentiment and the central bank raised short-term interest rates after the weeklong Spring Festival holiday.

The most traded rebar contract for May delivery fell 3 percent to 3,082 yuan (US$449) per ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange yesterday.

The most traded contracts of coke and coking coal — main materials to refine steel — for May delivery lost 5 percent and 3 percent to close at 1,529 yuan per ton and 1,155 yuan per ton respectively on the Dalian Commodity Exchange.

The People’s Bank of China surprised financial markets on Friday by raising short-term interest rates on the first trading day after the Spring Festival holiday.

The rate hikes “dented investment sentiment amid a dim demand outlook in the short term,” said Wang Guoqing, research director at, a steel industry website.

Jiang Mingde, an independent industry analyst, said investors were bearish on futures prices as demand for industrial commodities fell amid shrinking home sales.

New home sales in Shanghai plunged 40 percent month on month in January, Shanghai Uwin Real Estate Information Services Co said last week. Sales of new houses in Beijing fell 36.8 percent in January from December.

Investment in real estate, which takes up about 20 percent of steel use, is estimated to decline 1.4 percent this year from 2016, said Luo Wenbo, an analyst of Zhongtai Securities.


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