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Steel Prices Drop, Showing Signs of Overproduction
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Steel prices in China dropped in July after five consecutive month-on-month rises as overproduction began to hit the market.


A report released by the People's Bank of China (PBC) on Monday showed steel prices in July dropped 3.9 percent from June and 4.9 percent from the same month last year.


This was the first monthly decline since January, but the steel price still 11.9 percent up from the beginning of the year.


Analysts said the decline showed overproduction has begun to bite on the steel market.


China's steel production maintained its rapid growth in the first six months, with unprocessed steel output approaching 200 million tons.


At the same time, the price of iron ore was 1.1 percent up from June after China's steel mills agreed to a 19 percent price hike in talks with international iron ore suppliers in June.


Iron prices fell two percent over the same period last year.


Non-ferrous metal prices rebounded by 2.1 percent from June, 39.6 percent up from last year.


Copper rose 3.3 percent from June, 63.6 percent up from last year, with gold prices climbing three percent, an increase of 33.2 percent from July last year.


Energy prices continued to rise, with an overall month-on-month increase of 1.7 percent and a hike of 10.4 percent since July last year.


Crude oil fell 0.3 percent from June, but remained 8.3 percent higher than the same period last year.


Electricity rose 4.1 percent from June, 4.6 percent up from last year.


(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2006)


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