UPDATE 1-Steelmaker JFE cuts 2012/13 profit outlook in half after Q2 loss

Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:23am EDT

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(Updates with details, background)

* Cuts 2012/13 annual recurring profit forecast to Y45 bln

* Posts Q2 loss of Y5.8bln vs profit of Y25.2 bln yr ago

* JFE shares down over 20 percent since start of year

TOKYO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - JFE Holdings Inc, Japan's No.2 steelmaker, slashed its full-year profit f orecast i n half on Wednesday due to worries that a delay in the recovery of Asia's steel market and slower demand from carmakers will squeeze margins.

A cooling of China's economy and oversupply of steel across Asia has hit many of the region's steelmakers.

Japan's steel producers are also likely to suffer from a decline in demand from carmakers after the government ended incentives in September for environmentally friendly cars.

Political tensions between Japan and China - which erupted last month after a row over disputed islands led to violent anti-Japanese protests across China - have also hurt sales of Japanese cars in China.

JFE, the world's ninth-biggest crude steel producer by volume, swung to a recurring l oss o f 5 .8 billion y en, which is pretax and before one-off items, in the July-September quarter from a profit of 25.2 billion yen a year ago.

It expects 45 billion yen ($564.05 million) in recurring profit for the year to March 2013, sharply below the 90 billion yen it forecast three months ago.

Th e new figure is below a consensus estimate of 59.99 billion yen in a poll of 17 analysts in Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, and compares with year-ago profit of 52.98 billion yen.

On Tuesday, world No.4 steelmaker POSCO posted a 25 percent drop in quarterly profit, cut its annual sales and investment outlooks and said the global steel market was unlikely to recover sharply next year.

ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, will report on Oct. 31, while t op Japan rival N ippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corp, which merged this month, will report results on Nov. 9.

Shares in JFE have los t more than 20 percent this year, underperforming the Nikkei average's more than 5 p ercent ga in. As of 0520 GMT, JFE shares were up 1.5 percent, outperforming the benchmark, which was down 0.16 percent. ($1 = 79.7800 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Yuko Inoue; Editing by Daniel Magnowski and Ken Wills)

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