Thu, 5 Dec 07:30:00 GMT
* Steel demand sets to slow down in winter
* Iron ore stays firm on mills restocking
* Lack of cash and concerns on oversupply weigh on ore
(Updates Shanghai rebar, Dalian iron ore close)
SHANGHAI, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Chinese steel futures slipped from more than two-month high on Thursday on softer demand in the world's top consumer China, weighing on the raw material iron ore.
A better outlook for China's economy has driven up steel prices to its loftiest since Sept. 24 this week, while the suspension of construction activities in the northern regions due to cold weather has capped the upside.
"There is no fundamental support for prices to stay above 3,700 yuan at the moment as physical demand is slowing, but the better economy should lift steel demand in the first quarter," said a trader in Shanghai.
China's factory growth stayed at an 18-month high in November, according to a survey released earlier in the week, underlining the resilience of the world's No. 2 economy as Beijing plans for structural reforms. [ID:nL4N0JH0CO]
The most-traded rebar for May delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed down 0.7 percent at 3,693 yuan
($606) a tonne, after rising on Wednesday to as high as 3,727 yuan, its loftiest since Sept. 24.
Spot iron ore prices extended gains to their highest since mid-August, as Chinese steel mills replenished stocks, but the restocking pace is expected to slow down after the sharp hike in prices.
Iron ore for immediate delivery into China's northern Tianjin port <.IO62-CNI=SI> rose 1.1 percent to $139.70 a tonne on Wednesday, the highest since Aug. 15, according to data compiler Steel Index.
"The temporary closure of some domestic mines due to cold weather and the still high steel production have jointly boosted imports of iron ore," said an iron ore trader in northern China's Tangshan city.
"But the lack of cash flow and the concern over the long-term supply have limited the upside room, and I don't think iron ore prices will hit $140 a tonne in near term."
The most-active iron ore for May delivery on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed 0.4 percent lower at 945 yuan a tonne after touching a one-month high of 956 yuan.
Shanghai rebar futures and iron ore indexes at 0719 GMT
Contract Last Change Pct Change
SHFE REBAR MAY4 3693 -25.00 -0.67
DALIAN IRON ORE MAY4 945 -4.00 -0.42
THE STEEL INDEX 62 PCT INDEX 139.7 +1.50 +1.09
METAL BULLETIN INDEX 139.24 +0.91 +0.66
Dalian iron ore and Shanghai rebar in yuan/tonne
Index in dollars/tonne, show close for the previous trading day
($1 = 6.0916 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Ruby Lian and Fayen Wong; Editing by Supriya Kurane)
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