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UPDATE 1-POSCO cuts stainless steel prices by 14 pct

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SEOUL, Feb 6 (Reuters) - South Korea's POSCO 005490.KS, the world's No. 4 steelmaker, said on Friday it had cut stainless steel prices by up to 14 percent in its second price reduction in six months to reflect falling input costs and weak demand.

“The move is to respond to imports of cheaper stainless products from Japan and Taiwan as well as to reflect falling ferrochrome prices,” POSCO said in a statement.

POSCO has cut prices and production of stainless steel products since the third quarter of last year as buyers delay purchases on expectations of lower prices.

But it had to expand production cuts in the fourth quarter, cutting output by 38 percent from the previous quarter, as a deepening global economic downturn hit the steel industry hard and weakened demand for rustproof stainless steel, used in products ranging from kitchenware to machinery and aircraft.

The move to reduce output is worldwide.

Thainox Stainless Plc INOX.BK, Southeast Asia's largest stainless steel maker, said in December it would stop production for one month and Germany's ThyssenKrupp TKAG.DE extended the year-end holiday break at its largest stainless cold-rolled unit.

Prices of ferrochrome, a key component in stainless steel to deter corrosion, have fallen sharply in recent months due to weak demand and South Africa, the world’s biggest producer of ferrochrome, has deferred shipments of the metal on some clients’ requests.

POSCO said prices of its benchmark hot-rolled stainless steel will fall by 500,000 won, or 14 percent, to 3.15 million won ($2,287), and value-added cold-rolled products also drop by 500,000 won, or 13 percent, to 3.42 million won. ($1=1377.4 Won) (Reporting by Miyoung Kim, Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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