Chinese Steel Prices Post First Decline in Six Weeks on Slowdown Concerns

Benchmark Chinese steel prices fell 1.9 percent this week, the first decline in six, as the government studied a property tax and economic concerns eroded purchases of the material used in houses and cars.

Prices of hot-rolled coil fell to 4,176 yuan ($614) a metric ton today, from 4,259 yuan a ton a week ago, according to Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. Prices had increased for five straight weeks before this, posting an aggregate gain of 9.5 percent.

Purchases of U.S. existing houses plunged a record 27 percent in July to the lowest in a decade of record keeping, sparking concerns slowing global economic growth would curb commodities demand. China is studying a property tax and plans to introduce real estate tax reform, the official Xinhua News Agency said Aug. 24.

“The decline in steel prices, echoing a plunge in the equity markets, reflects worries over the economy,” Ma Haitian, an Antaike analyst, said in Beijing. “The price drop may continue in the coming weeks.”

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 2 percent, the biggest drop in two weeks, on Aug. 25. The index was down 1.2 percent this week.

--Helen Yuan. Editors: Tan Hwee Ann, Indranil Ghosh.

To contact the Bloomberg News staff on this story: Helen Yuan in Shanghai at hyuan@bloomberg.net

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