China’s crude steel output remains weak

Beijing, Oct 3 (IANS) China’s crude steel output continues to decline, data from the country’s top economic planner shows.

Crude steel production dipped 3.5 percent year on year to 66.94 million tonnes in August, compared with a one percent increase in the same period last year, Xinhua news agency cited the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Saturday.

In the first eight months of 2015, output fell two percent year on year, after the first seven months dropped 1.8 percent year on year, and the January-June period posted the first half-year drop in nearly 20 years, earlier figures showed.

Steel prices picked up slightly in August, with the domestic steel price index gaining 0.85 points from July to 64.31, but still down 26.86 points from a year earlier, according to the NDRC.

China’s once sizzling steel industry has cooled as the economy shifts gear from double-digit growth to seven percent expansion in the first half of this year, hurting industry profits and forcing factories to close.

In the first half of the year, medium-and large-sized steel producers suffered losses of 21.7 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) in their main businesses, losing 16.8 billion yuan more than the same period of last year, according to data from the China Iron and Steel Association.

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