UPDATE 1-China's Baosteel says iron ore slide "inevitable", more mills to shut

martes 11 de marzo de 2014 05:23 GYT

* Baosteel says iron ore prices still too high at above $100/T

* Says Chinese steel production likely to peak as early as 2018

* Improving quality, as well as cutting quantity, key to sector revival

By David Stanway

BEIJING, March 11 (Reuters) - The recent slide in iron ore prices was "inevitable", with a price above $100 a tonne still too high, the head of China's biggest-listed steel maker Baoshan Iron & Steel (Baosteel) said on Tuesday.

China's steel sector, buyer of around two thirds of global seaborne iron ore supplies, faces huge challenges this year, with demand weak and the government desperate to close outdated and polluting mills.

With many mills now unable to keep producing due to falling prices, mounting losses and credit restrictions, He Wenbo, chairman of Baosteel, said iron ore prices that have lost more than a fifth of their value this year had further to fall.

The strength of prices in the last few years had caused "injury" to the steel sector and to China, He of Baosteel said.

"Prices have been irrational and the current decline is inevitable," he said. "What will be the low point? I think that current prices of approaching $100 are still on the high side."   Continuación...