UPDATE 1-China says July steel output drops 1.4 pct on month
* Daily production rate at 2.2 mln T, down 4.6 pct from June
* Mills cut output during off-season (Adds detail)
BEIJING Aug 13 (Reuters) - China produced 68.32 million tonnes of crude steel in July, down 1.4 percent from the month before as mills began cutting output during the off-season.
The daily production rate amounted to 2.20 million tonnes, down 4.6 percent from a record daily rate of 2.31 million tonnes in June, data from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.
Large-scale mills slashed average daily production by 2.8 percent to 1.757 million tonnes in the last 11 days of July, its lowest rate since mid April, data from the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) showed last week.
The monthly production figure remains 1.5 percent higher than the same period last year, even though numbers provided by CISA have shown only a negligible increase in apparent domestic steel consumption during the first-half of the year.
Much of China's additional steel output has been sold overseas, with steel product exports in July rising 14 percent on the month to 8.06 million tonnes.
Total imports over the first seven months of the year have surged 37 percent to 49.07 million tonnes. Over the same period, China produced 480.76 million tonnes of crude steel, up 2.7 percent on the year.
China produced 94.76 million tonnes of steel products in July, up 3.7 percent compared to the same period in 2013, but down 3.4 percent on the month. Production from January to July reached 647.23 million tonnes, up 5.8 percent compared to the same time last year. (Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Tom Hogue and Joseph Radford)
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