Xinhua | Updated
BEIJING — China's crude steel output rose slightly in the first eight months this year, data from the country's top economic planner showed.
Crude steel production increased 5.6 percent year-on-year to 566.41 million metric tons in the January-August period, compared with a 0.1-percent decrease in the same period last year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Meanwhile, steel prices continued to pick up, with the domestic steel price index gaining 7.9 points from July to 112.77 in August, and increasing 37.51 points from a year earlier, according to the NDRC.
The steel prices were lifted by higher iron ore costs, improved demand as well as lower supply due to government policies to cut steel overcapacity and enhance environmental protection, according to China Iron and Steel Association (CISA).
Although production restrictions amid tighter enforcement of environmental rules during the winter heating season will cap supply in the coming months, expanding competitive capacity will help contain high price rises, the CISA said.
China has been striving to close small mills that churn out low-quality steel made from scrap metal this year, leading to decreased supply.
The crackdown on the small low-end furnaces, which account for 4 percent of total steel output, came as Beijing aims to cut excess capacity, tackle pollution and improve safety measures at these mills.