* March output at 72 mln T beats year-old record of 70.65
* First-quarter output at 201.1 mln T, up 4.6 pct y/y
(Updating with details throughout)
BEIJING, April 17 China's steel output rose 1.8
percent in March to a monthly record of 72 million tonnes,
stoking worries of a glut that continues to grow even as Beijing
tries to rein in excess capacity in the bloated sector and
demand remains flat.
March's monthly total easily beat the previous record of
70.65 million tonnes hit in March 2016, data from the National
Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday.
In the first quarter, production totalled 201.1 million
tonnes, up 4.6 percent from the same period a year earlier, the
data also showed.
The growing production as Chinese mills bid to profit from
prices that soared in 2016 and into this year are undermining
the government's years-long push to cut capacity to make the
steel industry more efficient and tackle smog.
Beijing's crackdown has mainly targeted low-grade products
like rebar, used mostly for construction.
Rising inventory levels and recent falls in the prices,
though, suggest output has been growing faster than China's
The most-active steel rebar futures prices were
down 1.15 percent at 2,918 yuan ($423.90) per tonne at 0243 GMT,
on track for a 7.8 percent drop in April, their worst monthly
performance since May last year.
Over 2016, steel rebar futures gained more than 70 percent,
and they are still up nearly 10 percent so far this year.
Adding more uncertainty to the demand outlook, China has
issued a flurry of measures to tame its red-hot property market,
including restricting home sales by buyers and tightening
The property measures could hinder any developing recovery
in prices for steel rebar from the declines in March and April.
($1 = 6.8838 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Josephine Mason, Meng Meng and Beijing monitoring
desk; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Tom Hogue)