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The growth seen in coke output was larger than that of pig iron and crude steel.

Pig iron output gained 3.7% year-on-year to 657.9 million tonnes while crude steel output grew 3.1% to 716.54 million tonnes, NBS data showed.

“The bigger increase seen in coke was due to steel mills expanding their compatible coke facilities. But as the growth of crude steel production slows in China, coke output expansion will inevitably slow down in 2013 as well,” an industry analyst in Beijing said.

Coke output in December had slipped 2.3% from November’s to 36.1 million tonnes.

“The tightened supply of coking coal resulted in the reduced coke output in December,” the analyst said.