Thu, Jun 25, 2009 - Page 12 News List

China Steel enjoys order rebound as stockpiles fall

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China Steel Corp (中鋼), the nation’s largest steelmaker, said orders rebounded after customers depleted stockpiles, signaling a recovery from the sales plunge last month.

There is a shortage of steel in Taiwan after the company shut a furnace for maintenance, executive vice president Chung Le-min (鍾樂民) said yesterday from Kaohsiung, where the company is based.

The revival in orders won’t stop China Steel from reporting a loss for the April-to-June period as the mill sold products below cost, Chung said.

China Steel posted losses for two straight quarters as the global recession reduced demand from builders and automakers.

IMPROVED SENTIMENT

“Market sentiment has improved a little,” Chung said in the telephone interview. “The market was at its worst from mid-April to around May 10.”

China Steel advanced 2.2 percent to close at NT$27.90 in Taipei trading. The stock has climbed 21 percent this year, compared with a 39 percent gain in the benchmark TAIEX index.

The company said on June 10 it would raise prices for domestic customers by an average 7 percent for next month and August, the first increase this year. That came after it reported a 52 percent plunge in sales for last month to NT$11 billion (US$335 million), according to a June 9 stock exchange filing.

Baoshan Iron & Steel Co (寶鋼), China’s largest steelmaker, increased prices by 11 percent for cold-rolled products for delivery next month, the Mysteel Research Institute said on June 10. Maanshan Iron & Steel Co (馬鞍山鋼鐵), China’s fourth-largest listed mill, also raised prices for next month by 8.9 percent.

China Steel runs four furnaces with a total annual capacity of 10 million tonnes. The No. 3 plant, with a 2.8 million tonne capacity, was shut in April for maintenance.

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