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China's major steel makers 2008 profits slump: state media

China revises up 2007 economic growth to 13.0 percent: govt
China announced on Wednesday that the nation's economy grew by 13.0 percent in 2007, up from a previous calculation of 11.9 percent. China's economy was worth 25.7 trillion yuan in 2007, the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website, or about 3.8 trillion dollars based on the current exchange rate. The bureau said this was the final revision for 2007 economic numbers, after reporting in January last year that growth was 11.4 percent, then upgrading it to 11.9 percent in April.
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Jan 14, 2009
China's major steel makers saw their earnings slump in 2008 as demand fell and raw material costs soared, state press reported Wednesday, citing company officials.

The Shanghai Securities News, an official mouthpiece for China's securities regulator, cited an unnamed Shanghai Baosteel Group executive as saying the leading producer had a 2008 net profit of about 23 billion yuan (3.4 billion dollars).

That figure would be down 32 percent from the previous year.

Dwindling demand from industries such as shipbuilding forced Baosteel to halt production at some of its furnaces in the last quarter of 2008, the executive told the newspaper.

Executives at other large steel groups also warned of drops in profits due to weak demand and lower steel prices in the fourth quarter, with relatively high contract prices for iron ore fixed in the first half of last year.

Publicly traded companies are required to release earnings information in statements to the stock exchange, but executives in China sometimes leak profit information to the state press.

Wuhan Iron and Steel Group's gross profit for 2008 fell 18 percent from the previous year to 7.6 billion yuan while Shandong Iron and Steel Group's profit fell more than 50 percent to about 3.5 billion yuan, the report said, citing anonymous company officials.

China's steel production capacity reached 6.6 million tonnes at the end of 2008, 32 percent more than an estimated output of five million tonnes last year, the official China Securities News reported Wednesday, citing the industry group China Steel and Iron Association.

Baoshan Iron and Steel Co, the listed unit of Baosteel Group, is due to release annual results on March 28. Wuhan Iron and Steel Co, listed unit of Wuhan Iron and Steel Group, is scheduled to release its results on April 27.

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US deficit narrows sharply, Chinese imports in record plunge
Washington (AFP) Jan 13, 2009
A sharp decline in the US November trade deficit reflected a record drop in imports from China and a sharp contraction in global commerce, according to government data.

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