Baoshan Iron and Steel Co will execute a mild hike in product prices next month after keeping them basically flat for January and February, on expectation of a pickup in seasonal demand and in response to rising costs.
But analysts said uncertainties in the global economy would prevent Chinese steel mills from raising prices significantly in the short term.
Shanghai-based Baosteel yesterday said it will raise hot-rolled coil and cold-rolled coil prices by 150 yuan (US$23.83) a ton, respectively, for next month. The company is China's largest listed steel maker, and its monthly pricing policy is always seen as a benchmark in the domestic industry.
A slowing economy in China, which grew the least in two and a half years in the last quarter of 2011, has melted steel demand from the construction and auto industries. "If there is a sign of improving market condition, steel mills will have to raise prices to cover earlier losses," said Wang Bei, an analyst at Mysteel Research Institute.