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China steel rebar set for third straight weekly loss as inventories jump

BEIJING, Jan 29 (Reuters) - China’s steel rebar futures dropped on Friday and were on course for a third straight weekly decline as inventories of the construction material surged 16% this week.

Stockpiles of rebar at mills and with traders stood at 8.9 million tonnes as of Jan. 28, up 15.9% from the week earlier, according to Mysteel consultancy, sending total steel products inventories to 17.9 million tonnes this week.

The most active rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, for May delivery, fell 1.3% to 4,269 yuan a tonne as of 0330 GMT. It shed 0.6% this week.

Hot rolled coils, used in cars and home appliances, declined 1.9% to 4,401 yuan per tonne.

Shanghai stainless steel futures, for March delivery, meanwhile, gained 0.5% at 14,300 yuan a tonne.

Prices for steelmaking ingredients all fell.

Benchmark iron ore futures on Dalian Commodity Exchange were down 2.2% at 988 yuan a tonne, following spot 62% iron ore, which plunged by $8.5 to $159 a tonne on Thursday. SH-CCN-IRNR62

Capacity utilisation rates at 247 blast furnaces across China dipped to 90.53% this week from 91.12% in last, according to Mysteel.

Dalian coking coal prices slumped 3.2% to 1,524 yuan per tonne.

Coke prices slid 1.4% to 2,580 yuan a tonne.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Brazil’s National Mining Agency (ANM) is set to hire 40 more safety inspectors, to more than double the total number of inspectors, allowing it to check all the country’s tailings dams annually, the agency’s director told Reuters on Thursday.

* Brazil steelmakers will raise prices for steel used in auto manufacturing between 12% and 15% in February in line with rising steel prices worldwide, a source told Reuters on Thursday.

Reporting by Min Zhang and Shivani Singh; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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