WRAPUP 1-China steel demand shrinks for first time in 14 years as slowdown stings

jueves 25 de septiembre de 2014 05:33 GYT

* Apparent crude steel consumption down in Jan-Aug

* Iron ore supply has exceeded demand in China

* Global ore miners convinced Chinese demand will remain firm (Adds comments, details, prices)

By David Stanway

DALIAN, China Sept 25 (Reuters) - China's steel consumption dropped this year for the first time since at least 2000 due to slower economic growth, leading to a surplus of iron ore in the country and a more than 40 percent plunge in prices of the steelmaking raw material.

But top global miners like Vale and Rio Tinto , which have invested billions of dollars to ramp up output to sell more iron ore to China, are still convinced that Chinese demand has yet to peak with an urbanisation drive there expected to last at least another decade.

Apparent crude steel consumption in China, the world's top consumer and producer of the alloy, fell 1.9 percent on year to 61.9 million tonnes in August, Wang Xiaoqi, vice chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association, told an industry conference.

"There are many reasons for this - the economy slowing and the economy undergoing restructuring. Steel consuming sectors have cut their demand," Wang said on Thursday.

With China now focusing growth on consumption and away from investment that has fuelled years of massive expansion in China's steel sector, Wang said: "From now, domestic steel output and consumption won't rise along with economic growth."   Continuación...