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China June Crude Steel Output Falls to Four-Month Low on Prices

July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Crude-steel production in China, the world’s biggest consumer of the alloy, fell to a four-month low in June after prices plunged.

Steel output was 64.7 million metric tons last month, the lowest since February, according to data compiled by Bloomberg using figures from the National Bureau of Statistics. Production rose 4.6 percent in June from a year ago, the bureau said today.

Chinese prices for hot-rolled coil, a benchmark steel product, have declined 15 percent from a nine-month high reached on Feb. 18, according to Beijing Antaike Information Industry Co., amid industry overcapacity, slowing demand and high inventories. The nation’s 86 largest mills posted an aggregate profit of 149 million yuan (24.3 million) in May, the lowest level this year, researcher Custeel.com said on its website citing the China Iron & Steel Association.

Hebei Iron & Steel Co., the publicly traded unit of China’s biggest mill, estimated its first-half profit would fall between 70 percent and 90 percent from a year ago, in an exchange filing late on July 12.

Chinese steel prices, which reached an eight-month low of 3,436 yuan a metric ton on May 31, increased 0.6 percent to 3,568 yuan as of July 12, according to Antaike. Iron ore with 62 percent iron content arriving at Tianjin port gained 1.3 percent to $126.80 a dry ton, according to a benchmark gauge compiled by the Steel Index Ltd.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net

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