* Property sales growth hit a near one-year high in May
* May crude steel output hit record, destocking slowed
* Short-term outlook positive, medium-term negative -BCS GM
BEIJING, June 15 (Reuters) - China’s benchmark Shanghai rebar futures steadied on Friday despite firm property data, but were still on track to rise for a third week in a row.
Official data showed on Thursday that sales growth of China’s real estate hit a near one-year high, with new construction starts measured by floor area up 20.5 percent in May from a year earlier, indicating a sign of growing confidence among property developers.
Construction steel rebar prices, which have risen nearly 6 percent so far this month to around six-month highs, dipped 0.1 percent to 3,880 yuan ($604.88) a tonne during early trade on Friday.
“Investors are somewhat concerned as demand from downstream sectors has started to wane, but steel prices remain firm,” said a Beijing-based trader.
Spot steel prices rose 0.3 percent to 4,392.01 yuan a tonne on Thursday, data from Mysteel consultancy showed.
Stockpiles of steel products at Chinese traders fell again in the week to June 15, but the de-stocking process slowed. Total stocks reduced by 370,000 tonnes from last week to 9.99 million tonnes, according to Mysteel.
The world’s top steelmaking country churned out a record of 81.13 million tonnes of crude steel last month, up 5.8 percent from the previous month and 8.9 percent from May last year, data from National Bureau of Statistics showed, as mills dashed to cash out bumper profit margins.
“Although China’s May steel production hit a new record, there was no pressure on prices last month and there is none currently, as output should be lower in June due to production cuts and maintenance works,” analysts at BCS Global Market said in a note but hold a negative medium-term outlook.
Top steelmaking city Tangshan asked industrial plants to implement emergency anti-pollution measures over June 14-17 as heavy smog has been forecast for those days. Some mills were asked to shut down their sintering and shaft furnaces but mills with desulphurising equipment will be exempt from the curbs.
The most-active iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 0.5 percent to 470 yuan a tonne. ($1 = 6.4145 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Aizhu Chen; editing by Richard Pullin)