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Member mills of the China Iron & Steel Assn (Cisa) produced crude steel at an average rate of 1.61 million tpd, down a negligible 0.3% from the preceding ten days, according to estimates from the industry body reported on Friday December 11.

Cisa member mills, which are mainly medium-sized steelmakers, account for roughly 80% of the country’s output.

Mills have come under increasing pressure to cut output this year as spot steel prices sink to new lows amid an oversupplied sector. However, record-low iron ore prices have allowed steelmakers some leeway with lower input costs.

Metal Bulletin’s index for 62% Fe iron ore was calculated at $42.97 per tonne cfr China on November 30, down almost $2 from prices ten days earlier 40% lower compared with the start of the year.

Grade III 16-25mm rebar was trading at 1,750-1,780 yuan ($272-276) per tonne in Shanghai on November 30, down 30 yuan ($5) from levels on November 20.

As at November 30, Cisa member mills had a total of 14.4 million tonnes in combined finished steel inventory, down 5% from the previous ten-day period.