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UPDATE 1-China steel consumption likely to fall 6 pct this year -CISA
May 14, 2015 / 2:51 AM / in 3 years

UPDATE 1-China steel consumption likely to fall 6 pct this year -CISA

* Crude steel consumption fell last yr for 1st time since 1981

* Sector has been saddled with oversupply

* CISA says oversupply will drive steel prices lower (Adds comment, detail)

By Manolo Serapio Jr

SINGAPORE, May 14 (Reuters) - China’s steel consumption will likely fall 6 percent this year, an industry official from the country said on Thursday, underlining how a slowdown in the world’s No. 2 economy will continue to hurt industrial demand.

Chinese crude steel consumption dropped 3.4 percent last year, shrinking for the first time since 1981, and fell again in the first quarter, spurring producers to sell more steel overseas.

“This year it will continue to be negative growth, minus 6 percent,” Wang Liqun, vice chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association, told an industry conference.

ANZ had said last week that it expected Chinese steel consumption to fall 4 percent this year and 2 percent in 2016.

The country’s steel sector has been saddled by oversupply for years, with excess capacity now estimated at around 300 million tonnes, triple the annual output of Japan, the world’s No. 2 steel producer after China.

Liqun said the oversupply in both steel and iron ore will drive prices lower and cut profits for both steelmakers and miners.

“There is no winner at all, the profit margin has dropped significantly,” he said.

Amid shrinking domestic demand, China’s crude steel output fell 1.3 percent to 270 million tonnes in January to April, government data showed on Wednesday.

Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Joseph Radford

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