China’s February Steel Production Gains as Demand Increases

Crude-steel production in China, the world’s biggest consumer of the alloy, gained 9.8 percent in February from a year ago as mills raised output to meet demand.

Steel output climbed to 61.83 million metric tons last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said today in an e-mailed statement. January production was a record 63.62 million tons, arrived at by deducting the February number from a two-month figure of 125.45 million tons.

China’s major steelmakers reported an aggregate profit of 1.34 billion yuan ($215 million) in January as demand started to revive, compared with a combined loss of 1.97 billion yuan for the first 11 months of last year, according to a February statement from the China Iron and Steel Association. Better earnings spurred mills to raise production, chief analyst Hu Yanping said.

“Producers of flat steel have managed to record good profits this year,” Hu said from Beijing. “The mills, using using cheaper iron ore stockpiles, boosted output.”

Flat products are steel sheets and plates used in cargo containers, automobiles and home appliances. Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., which has half of the nation’s market share for automotive steel, raised prices for hot-rolled and cold-rolled products for April delivery by 150 yuan a ton, the company said March 8.

The passenger-vehicle market in China, the world’s most populous nation, had its strongest start this year since 2010. China’s wholesale deliveries of cars, multipurpose and sport-utility vehicles, rose 20 percent to 2.84 million units in January and February, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

— With assistance by Helen Yuan

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