* Benchmark iron ore futures down 0.2%
* Spot 62% iron ore at $92.5 per tonne on Tuesday (Recasts; updates with closing prices)
BEIJING, Dec 25 (Reuters) - Iron ore futures in China slipped on Wednesday, retreating after two straight session of gains in low volumes as many overseas markets were closed for the Christmas holiday.
The most actively traded iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, for May 2020 delivery, closed down 0.2% at 639 yuan ($91.48) per tonne, giving up gains from early trade.
The total trading volume of iron ore futures contracts was 1.17 million lots, compared with 1.92 million lots on Tuesday.
Prices were also subdued as heavy-pollution alerts in China’s northern province disrupted demand for the steelmaking raw material.
The air quality index in top steelmaking cities Tangshan and Handan exceeded 150 on Wednesday, indicating medium to heavy pollution, data from the Ecology and Environment Ministry showed.
Prices for spot cargoes of iron ore with 62% iron content for delivery to China fell $1 to $92.5 per tonne on Tuesday.
Other steelmaking ingredients were mixed, with Dalian coking coal dipping 0.3% to 1,152 yuan per tonne and Dalian coke inching up 0.05% to 1,846 yuan per tonne.
* Steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, for May 2020 delivery, dropped 1.1% to 3,485 yuan per tonne.
* Hot-rolled coil, used in cars and home appliances, fell 0.8% to 3,521 yuan per tonne.
* Shanghai stainless steel futures, for February 2020 delivery, was down 0.6% at 14,240 yuan per tonne.
* Shanghai Futures Exchange has said it will relax trading position limits on its product contracts from next year for 37 futures trading companies to encourage trading activity and increase market participation.
* China plans to repair the environmental damage caused by mining in a market-oriented way, bringing in more participants and encouraging social investment by granting some land usage rights after the ecological restoration is completed.
* China will step up support for employment to cope with rising pressure on job security due to internal and external challenges, the cabinet said, as the world’s second-largest economy slows.
* China said it is in close touch with the United States on a trade deal signing ceremony, after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he and the Chinese President Xi Jinping will have a ceremony to sign the recently struck Phase 1 trade deal.
* China approved three railway projects and one airport project, the state planner said on Wednesday.
* For top stories on metals and other news, click or ($1 = 6.9854 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Min Zhang and Shivani Singh; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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