China's crude steel output dips 0.7 pct in April

13 May 2015

China's crude steel output fell 0.7 percent in April from a year before, government data said on Wednesday, as a faltering economy and a cooling property sector hit demand for steel in the world's biggest producer.

Steel output reached 68.91 million tonnes in April. Total output for the first four months fell 1.3 percent to 270.07 million tonnes from the same period of last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

China grew at its slowest pace in six years at the start of 2015 and growth in real estate investment slowed to 6 percent in the first four months from a year earlier, suggesting the world's second-largest economy is still losing momentum.

Steel demand in China has remained subdued, sending prices down 11.9 percent so far this year. Apparent consumption of crude steel shrank 6.2 percent to 177 million tonnes in the first quarter against a fall of 4 percent in the whole of 2014.

Despite the weaker year on year comparison, steel output still rose in April on the previous month as mills took advantage of decade-low iron ore prices that helped boost their margins.

Average daily crude steel output in April came in at 2.297 million tonnes, up 2.5 percent from March, according to Reuters' calculations based on NBS data.

Steel mills have also increased output in May, analysts said, but a rebound in iron ore prices and worsening supply glut were likely to force mills to again cut prodution.