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Steel and Iron Investment Drops in 2006
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China's steel and iron investment frenzy showed signs of abating in 2006 as macro-regulation began to tame five straight years of steep 20 percent growth.


The latest figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that total investment in the sector amounted to 224.65 billion yuan, down 2.5 percent year on year.


The sum represented 2.4 percent of total national investments, significantly down on the 3.1 percent for 2005.


The steel and iron industry was the only sector that posted negative investment growth. Others continued to climb, in particular the real estate sector which rocketed by 21.8 percent.


Insiders pointed out that more moderate investment was the result of the cancellation of some new projects and the shutting down of operations that violated regulations.


NBS revised the 2006 crude steel output figures up from 418 million to 422.7 million tons.


The growth rate of crude steel production was revised upwards from 18.45 to 19.7 percent.


Steel production totaled 473.4 million tons, 6.55 million more than the January estimate. The growth rate was recalculated at 25.3 percent.


Wang Yingwu, an analyst with Usteel.com, predicted China's crude steel production would grow more slowly in 2007 to reach 480 million tons.


China's fixed asset investments totaled 10.99 trillion yuan in 2006, up 24 percent year on year.


(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2007)


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