April 30, 2020 / 3:02 AM / a month ago

Dalian iron ore futures rise as China's factory activity expands

* Iron ore futures set for weekly gain

* Dalian coking coal up as much as 2.7%

* China’s April factory activity expands for 2nd month

BEIJING, April 30 (Reuters) - Benchmark iron ore futures in China rose on Thursday and were on course to report a weekly gain, as hopes rose for better demand after the country reported a second straight month of expansion in manufacturing activity.

The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was at 50.8 in April, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said, as more businesses resumed work, although lockdowns and sliding global demand could hamper its economic recovery.

The most-traded September iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange gained 2.4% to 609 yuan ($86.24) by 0215 GMT. For the week, it is set to rise 0.3%. Mainland China will have public holidays between May 1 and May 5.

Prices were also supported by restocking demand ahead of Beijing resuming highway tolls from May 6, which will increase logistics costs.

“The exemption of highway tolls currently can reduce costs of iron ore transportation by 0.1-0.073 yuan per tonne in each kilometre,” Tianfeng Futures wrote in a note, adding that volumes evacuated from ports may slump after the resumption.

Dalian coking coal rose 2.5% to 1,065 yuan per tonne and coke futures gained 2.1% to 1,687 yuan a tonne.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot prices of iron ore with 62% iron content for delivery to China was unchanged at $84 per tonne on Wednesday.

* Construction rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 1.4% to 3,343 yuan a tonne.

* Hot-rolled coil increased 1.3% to 3,199 yuan per tonne.

* Stainless steel inched up 0.4% to 12,940 yuan a tonne.

* More than 3.19 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and over 226,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 0200 GMT on Thursday.

* Brazilian miner Vale SA decided to reopen the Timbopeba mine in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais next week, which will produce about 330,000 tonnes of iron ore fines per month.

* Fortescue Metals Group Ltd hiked its annual iron ore shipments forecast after it reported a 10% rise in third-quarter shipments.

* Japan’s crude steel output fell 12.5% in March from a year earlier to 7.95 million tonnes, the ministry of economy, trade and industry (METI) said.

* The price of iron ore is set to drift lower in coming months as the pandemic eats away at demand, moderating its outperformance against other industrial commodities this year. ($1 = 7.0617 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Min Zhang and Shivani Singh; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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