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China's steel production hits new highs as winter curbs loom

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China's steelmakers pushed production rates to record levels last month, underscoring a broadly bullish picture for mills in the world's biggest market as prices rally again.

[SHANGHAI] China's steelmakers pushed production rates to record levels last month, underscoring a broadly bullish picture for mills in the world's biggest market as prices rally again.

Output of crude steel rose 7.5 per cent on year to 80.85 million tonnes, according to the statistics bureau Friday. That means a daily rate of 2.695 million tonnes, beating the previous all-time high of 2.673 million tonnes posted in June. Output for the first nine months of the year climbed 6.1 per cent to a record 699.42 million tonnes.

China's mills have boosted output to benefit from an unusually long period of high prices and healthier profits that shows few signs of ending. The price of rebar used in construction rallied this week to the highest this year, while iron ore prices have surged to a March high, ahead of winter production curbs to fight pollution that are likely to continue to support the nation's steel markets.

China steel industry, which accounts for about half of world output, has recovered from a crisis that peaked in late 2015 by shutting outdated or illegal plants, and enforcing tougher environmental standards. The anti-pollution measures should bolster prices for steel and iron ore in the medium term, Citigroup said in a note on Wednesday.

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Output of primary aluminium rose 7.1 per cent on year in September to 2.79 million tonnes, according to the statistics bureau. Production for the first nine months increased 4.2 per cent to 25 million tonnes.

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