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Production volumes reached 2 million units last month, up 4.2% year-on-year, while sales stood at 1.98 million units, a yearly increase of 2.5%. This is the lowest growth rate for vehicle sales so far this year, according to figures released by the China Association of Automotive Manufacturers (CAAM) late on Monday October 13.

September’s vehicle output and sales surged by 17.1% and 15.6% respectively from levels in August, however.

“Business improved significantly compared with August, driven by seasonal demand, but year-on-year growth remained slow, both for September and for the first three quarters of the year,” CAAM said.

During January-September, China produced 17.2 million vehicles and sold 17 million units, respective annual rises of 8.1% and 7%.

The sluggishness in the auto sector has continued to weigh on the upstream steel industry. Baosteel, the country’s largest auto sheet producer, has lowered its cold rolled coil and hot-dip galvanised coil prices by 100 yuan ($16) per tonne for November delivery, following a similar reduction in its October prices.

Other major auto steel producers including Wuhan Iron & Steel are expected to follow suit in the next few days.