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The country produced 2.0143 million tpd of crude steel during the second ten days of the month, up 0.07% from the previous period, according to data released by the China Iron & Steel Assn (Cisa) on Friday December 27.

Output of Cisa member mills, which are mainly medium-to large-sized steelmakers, averaged 1.6921 million tpd in mid-December, down 0.18% from the first ten days.

“Mills have generally maintained a stable pace in production over the past few weeks, given the tight pollution controls as well as lacklustre demand,” a Beijing-based analyst told Steel First.

Blast furnace utilization rate in Tangshan city, in the major steelmaking hub of Hebei province, stayed at 91.93% as of Friday December 27, unchanged since December 13, and down from 92.13% a month ago, according to market sources.

Combined finished steel inventory of Cisa member mills totalled 13.822 million tonnes as of December 20, up 4.6% from December 10 levels, according to Cisa figures. Stocks were down 112,000 tonnes or 0.8% from a month ago, however.