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Steel Products Prices Forecast to Move Up Slightly
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China's steel product prices will continue to rise in March, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).


The price hike would be driven by market demand which usually rose as the weather becomes warmer, said Wang Shuangzheng, of the price monitoring center of the NDRC. He would not give the specific increase band, describing it only as "a small margin".


Other factors behind the price hike included the huge demand for steel products on the international market, which would carry exports, and rising iron ore prices, Wang said.


The general price of major steel products on the Chinese market was 4,055 yuan (US$506.8) per ton in February this year, up 1.74 percent from the previous month and 9.94 percent higher than February of last year, according to the center, which monitors steel markets in the country's 30 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.


The price of steel products for building was 3,302 yuan per ton, up 2.62 percent from January and 7.9 percent from February last year.


China's apparent consumption of crude steel amounted to 384.05 million tons last year, accounting for 30.98 percent of the global total.


Domestically-made steel products accounted for a record 95.82 percent of China's steel market last year, 2.61 percentage points higher than the previous year.


China became the world's largest stainless steel producer last year with an output of 5.3 million tons, up 67.68 percent year-on-year.


(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2007)


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