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Member mills of the China Iron & Steel Assn (Cisa) produced an average of 1.688 million tpd of crude steel during the last eleven days of January, down 0.35% from the preceding ten days, according to data released by the industry body on Tuesday February 10.

Cisa members, which are mainly medium-sized and large steelmakers, account for roughly 80% of the country’s total steel output.

The output decline was within market expectations, as some Chinese mills had started maintenance in late January to relieve flagging prices.

In Tangshan city, the country’s steelmaking hub in Hebei province, blast furnace utilisation rates averaged 91.64% at the end of last month, down from 96.52% in mid-January, according to market sources.

As at January 31, Cisa member mills’ combined finished steel inventory totalled 14.767 million tonnes, almost flat with January 20 levels, Cisa data shows.