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China Steel increases some prices slightly

China Steel Corp yesterday slightly increased prices for two high-grade cold-rolled coils commonly used in vehicle manufacturing and construction for domestic delivery next month as the global steel industry emerges from a slump.

The World Steel Association forecast that global steel demand would grow 1.8 percent this year and 1.9 percent next year after contracting 3.3 percent last year, China Steel said in a statement.

That means the global industry is bouncing back from the bottom, the Kaohsiung-based steelmaker said. In the US and Europe, the market outlook is also becoming clearer amid improving supply-demand dynamics, China Steel said.

Moreover, with the United Auto Workers announcing a return to factories after protests, steel demand from major automakers in the US would increase, the statement said.

An improvement in steel demand in the US would boost exports from Asia and guide the industry in a positive direction, it said.

As the pickup in Asia might be uneven in the early stages, China Steel only hiked prices mildly for a few products, as some customers are still grappling with an inventory glut and might be unable to afford pricier products, the statement said.

Surging raw material costs, mainly for coal and iron ore, would support higher steel prices, China Steel said.

The price of iron ore has climbed to US$130 per tonne, the highest in eight months, while the price of coking coal was US$300 per tonne, it said.

US steelmakers have hiked steel prices three times since last month, the company added.

The firm kept the prices of its other steel products unchanged.

China Steel’s price hikes matched upticks announced by Chinese counterparts.

Baowu Steel Group Ltd, the world’s biggest steelmaker, and Angang Steel Co  increased their prices for some hot-rolled, cold-rolled and galvannealed steel for delivery next month, with other prices kept flattish.

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