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Steel output hits record in June, Trump set to act

Bloomberg/ 18 Jul 17 | 02:19 AM

China’s old economy is displaying greatly renewed vigour. Output of steel and aluminum hit records last month, with mills and smelters boosting run-rates of the products used to make buildings, cars and appliances just as the Trump administration in the US weighs steps to roll back imports.

Output of crude steel was 73.23 million metric tons in June, 5.7 per cent more than a year earlier, and up 4.6 per cent to 419.75 million tons in the first half, the statistics bureau said on Monday. Supply of aluminum rose 7.4 per cent to 2.93 million tons last month, and gained 8.8 per cent to 16.84 million tons over the six months. China is the world’s biggest maker of both. The unprecedented performance from the country’s metals’ industry comes as China’s gross domestic product topped estimates in the second quarter. The nation’s steel mills are in a sweet spot, with larger suppliers ramping up output after a crackdown on the informal sector triggered a shortage of some products, aiding prices. Aluminum has also gained this year, with China’s policy makers seeking to cut outdated capacity even as more plants are added. “Steel mills are running at very high rates and we can see electric furnaces are ramping up production amid good margins," Yu Chen, an analyst with Mysteel Research, said from Shanghai. “Demand has also beaten expectations. We see property sales, infrastructure, auto sales all pretty good in June."

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