China avg daily steel output highest since mid-Nov - CISA

BEIJING, March 19 Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:23pm EDT

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BEIJING, March 19 (Reuters) - China produced an average of 2.097 million tonnes of steel a day in the first 10 days of March, up 0.72 percent compared to late February and the highest since mid-November, but output from big mills declined markedly, data from the steel association showed.

The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) said output from its members -- larger steel mills -- hit 1.66 million tonnes over the period, down 7.95 percent compared to late February, indicating that China's larger mills are taking measures to reduce output in the face of severe oversupply, high stockpiles and plunging prices.

But the overall increase in production over the period shows that smaller, private mills are continuing to ramp up output despite severe economic difficulties and efforts to shut polluting plants.

The association said on Tuesday that its price index for steel products was at its lowest since February 2006, with demand failing to keep up with a rapid increase in output.

CISA estimates total output based on the production figures from its members, which consist of more than 80 large- and medium-sized steel mills normally accounting for about 80 percent of total production.

Period Daily Change Members Change

output(mln T) (pct) (mln T) (pct) Mar 1-10 2.097 +0.7 1.660 -7.9 Feb 21-28 2.082 +5.9 1.804 +6.8 Feb 11-20 1.967 -4.8 1.689 -4.1 Feb 1-10 2.066 +5.2 1.761 +6.2 Jan 21-31 1.964 -2.1 1.659 -2.5 Jan 11-20 2.007 +0.5 1.702 +1.6 Jan 1-10 1.997 +1.9 1.675 +2 Source: China Iron and Steel Association For CISA's steel output report, click on STEE/CN (Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Ed Davies)