Prices steady in euro zone
Inflation in the 12 nations that use the euro held stable at 2.5 percent last month, the EU's statistical office Eurostat said yesterday in its first estimate for last month. Worries about surging prices have fueled the European Central Bank's decision to raise interest rates several times since December. It meets again on Thursday and is widely expected to raise its key rate a quarter of a percentage point to 3 percent. High oil prices and Europe's slow economic pick-up have kept inflation in the euro area above the bank's guideline of just under 2 percent. Year-on-year inflation was also 2.5 percent in June and May after rising to 2.4 percent in April and 2.2 percent in March. Eurostat will give a breakdown of inflation across the EU's 25 member states when it publishes its final estimate on Aug. 17.
POSCO becomes No. 3
With its new mill in eastern China commencing operations, South Korean steel giant POSCO yesterday said it had become the world's No. 3 stainless steel maker. POSCO, the world's fourth-largest steelmaker overall, said Zhangjiagang POSCO Stainless Steel, a joint venture mill with its Chinese partner, had begun production in Jiangsu Province. The mill is capable of producing 600,000 tonnes of stainless steel per year, bringing POSCO's total stainless steel capacity to 2.6 million tonnes, the world's third biggest. "With the completion of the China plant, POSCO has emerged as the world's number three stainless steel producer," a POSCO spokesman said. Spain's Acerinox SA is the world's number one stainless steel producer with 3.3 million tonnes followed by ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG of Germany with 3 million tonnes, he added.