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Global steel output edges up in August, buoyed by strong China

FILE PHOTO: Workers wearing face masks following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak load steel products for export to a cargo ship at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China May 27, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Global crude steel production edged up in August as buoyant output in top producer China offset coronavirus-related declines in most of the rest of the world, data from the World Steel Association showed on Thursday.

But the coming months may see diminished output growth in China, the world’s top producer and consumer of the metal, despite continuing support from government’s stimulus programme, an analyst warned.

“While steel demand from China’s infrastructure sector is set to remain strong in the coming months, we suspect that this will be partially offset by weakness in the property sector,” Samuel Burman, assistant commodities economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.

World Steel Association data on Thursday showed global steel output rose 0.6% to 156.2 million tonnes in August, while Chinese production increased by 8.4% to 94.8 million tonnes.

Outside of China, steel operations continued to struggle, with production slipping by 20.6% in Japan, down 13.4% in Germany and falling 24.4% in the United States.

“In fact, production outside China could even fall further in the coming months as the recent re-introduction of virus-related quarantine measures in Europe, India and elsewhere could lead to a renewed slump in the demand for steel,” Burman added.

Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Mark Potter and Jan Harvey

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