China April Steel Output Gains 2.6% as Mills Increase Capacity

China, the world’s biggest steel producer, boosted output 2.6 percent last month as steelmills ramped up production.

Crude-steel output was 60.57 million metric tons in April from a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Production fell 1.6 percent from 61.58 million tons in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Chinese steel prices fell for four straight weeks to 4,281 yuan a ton today, according to researcher Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. The steel industry is facing increasing competition as more facilities, mainly from private mills, started operation earlier this year, analyst Hu Zhengwu said.

“Supply is rising faster than the pace of demand,” Hu, from researcher Custeel.com, said by phone, “Cutting output would incur big losses so steelmakers don’t tend to do that. The increasing supply will likely weigh on prices over the next month.”

Still, China’s manufacturing expanded in April at the fastest pace in a year, damping speculation the central bank will relax monetary policy. The Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.3 last month from 53.1 in March, the statistics bureau and logistics federation said in a statement May 1.

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