(Adds details, analyst's reaction, context)
MOSCOW, July 14 (Reuters) - Russia's biggest steelmaker, NLMK, reported on Friday a 3 percent fall in second-quarter output from a year earlier to 4.14 million tonnes because of planned maintenance.
Russian steelmakers are recovering from a two-year downturn as global prices improve and the economy rebounds from a slowdown sparked by sanctions and weakened oil prices.
The steelmaker, controlled by Russian billionaire Vladimir Lisin, said second-quarter sales rose 5 percent year-on-year to 4.15 million tonnes, a rise of 13 percent from the first quarter due to a seasonal uptick in sales of finished products at home.
"Increase in steel sales is higher than we anticipated and should help NLMK to more than offset the decline in export steel prices and appreciation of the rouble during the quarter," BCS Investment Bank analyst Oleg Petropavlovskiy said in a note.
The country's fourth-largest steel producer, Severstal , reported a 1.4 percent year-on-year fall in its second-quarter sales this week.
NLMK said average prices for steel products fell by 3-5 percent in the second quarter from the previous quarter in the United States, Europe and Russia. Compared with a year ago, prices rose by 10-20 percent.
NLMK is on track to produce 16.8 million tonnes of steel products in 2017, it said in a statement.
NLMK shares were up 0.1 percent at 124 roubles at 1026 GMT, broadly in line with Moscow's benchmark MICEX index which was up 0.2 percent. (Reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova; writing by Polina Devitt; editing by Denis Pinchuk and David Clarke)