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Member mills of the China Iron & Steel Assn (Cisa), the majority of which are medium-sized and large steelmakers, produced 1.7781 million tpd of crude steel over the last ten days of June, down 3.2% from June 11-20, according to data released by the industry body on Thursday July 10.
Cisa has not released any estimate for China's overall crude steel output since early May, when it published its member statistics for late April. Its members account for roughly 80% of the country's total steel output.
Market participants were surprised by the production drop in late June, as most mills were still making profits then due to the relatively low iron ore prices last month. Apart from that, the country’s blast furnace utilisation rate was also on the rise.
The rate stood at 90.19% on June 27, up from 88.67% on June 20, according to market sources.
“It’s highly unlikely for mills to cut production when there is profit, so I think the figure could be an adjusted one,” a Beijing-based analyst said.
As at June 30, Cisa member mills’ combined finished steel inventory totalled 13.915 million tonnes, down 7.9% from June 20 levels, Cisa data shows.
China’s daily crude steel output retreated in late June, after hitting a record high during the second ten days of the month.