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The member mills swung to their first loss of the year in June, at 699 million yuan ($113 million). The stronger performance in July was due to higher finished steel prices during the month, Cisa said.

Domestic hot rolled coil prices were at 3,620-3,640 yuan ($587-591) per tonne in Shanghai on July 26, up by 170-180 yuan ($28-29) per tonne from prices on June 28, according to Steel First price archive.

Meanwhile, domestic rebar prices saw more significant increases during the same period, with prices up by 200-240 yuan ($32-39) per tonne in Beijing market.

During January-July, accumulated profit of Cisa member mills, which are mainly medium to large-sized steelmakers, reached 4.94 billion yuan ($801 million), up nearly 600% compared with 710 million yuan ($115 million) over the same period of last year, according to Cisa figures.