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Japan steel giant's net profit hit by China slowdown

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Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal said Thursday its annual profit more than halved as it pointed to a "severely depressed" market owing to a slowdown in China and other overseas markets.

[TOKYO] Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal said Thursday its annual profit more than halved as it pointed to a "severely depressed" market owing to a slowdown in China and other overseas markets.

The Tokyo-based firm, one of the world's biggest steelmakers, posted a net profit of 200.9 billion yen (S$2.5 billion) in its fiscal year to March, down 55 per cent from a year ago.

Operating profit also tumbled by more than half as the company's finances took a hit from a rebound in the yen and lower steel prices.

The global steel industry has suffered from oversupply and weakening demand as China's economic growth has slowed from the break-neck rates that helped global commodity suppliers grow fat off demand for big ticket infrastructure projects there.

Nippon Steel did not give a forecast for its current fiscal year, saying it would publish its outlook "when reasonable estimates become possible".

"Domestic steel demand remained sluggish, largely owing to stagnant capital investment," the company said in a statement.

"Overseas steel demand conditions included slowing steel demand in China and stagnant demand in the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region, while the slumping oil market led to depressed demand in the energy sector.

"Despite signs of recovery shown since the end of 2015, the market remained severely depressed," it added.

AFP