* Shanghai steel rebar prices up 1.5 pct this week
* Infrastructure projects to drive steel demand in China (Updates prices)
SINGAPORE, Sept 21 (Reuters) - China’s construction steel rebar prices rose on Friday, finishing the week on a positive note on the back of support from the country’s plans to increase infrastructure spending.
The most-active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 0.1 percent at 4,149 yuan ($606.53) a tonne. For the week, the market gained 1.5 percent.
“Steel futures have been strong off the back of ongoing curbs to steel capacity amid strong demand,” ANZ said in a report. “However, this enthusiasm has been tempered in recent days by reports that the curbs may not be as extensive as last year.”
China’s steel demand will remain firm despite the country’s escalating trade war with the United States, and any efforts by Washington to “sabotage” the Chinese economy will not succeed, the head of China’s steel association said.
A push to expand subway networks in some of China’s biggest cities are helping brighten the outlook for the nation’s mammoth steel sector.
The National Development and Reform Commission, the top state planner in the country, has said China would ramp up investment in infrastructure.
Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange lost 0.3 percent to 501 yuan a tonne. Coke gained marginally to 1,286.5 yuan a tonne and coking coal added 2.7 percent to 2,384.5 yuan a tonne.
China’s iron ore demand is expected to stay flat, said an official from Baoshan Iron & Steel Co, the country’s biggest listed steelmaker, as Beijing’s stricter environmental rules boost the use of scrap steel.
Mining giant Vale is looking at expanding its flagship iron ore project in Brazil, a company official said, hoping to cash in on a growing appetite for higher-grade varieties of the commodity in China.
China has ramped up buying of higher-quality, less polluting grades of iron ore as it battles to clear its notoriously smoggy skies. ($1 = 6.8405 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Sunil Nair and Subhranshu Sahu)
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