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China Hebei Nov steel output drops 13 pct on month


Steel output in China's biggest producing province of Hebei fell 13 percent on a daily basis in November from a month earlier as mills suspended operations during an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing, official data showed on Monday.

Big declines in Hebei steel output were expected this month, with dozens of mills asked to suspend operations completely during Nov. 7-12 as global heads of state arrived in Beijing for the APEC session.

Hebei's steel sector, usually responsible for about a quarter of China's output, produced 12.20 million tonnes of crude steel during the month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, cutting its share to 19.3 percent of the total.

National daily crude steel production fell 3.1 percent on the month in November, reaching 2.11 million tonnes, its lowest rate this year.

Some in the industry hoped the mandatory production cuts,aimed at guaranteeing air quality during the APEC summit, would help reduce oversupply in the sector and support prices.

However, producers in other regions picked up some of the slack, with output from Jiangsu, the second largest producer,rising 4.7 percent on a daily basis compared to the previous month, reaching 8.61 million tonnes. Output from the eastern coastal province has risen 9.2 percent in the first 11 months of 2014.

Hebei, home to seven of China's 10 smoggiest cities, is under heavy pressure to cut coal use and shed polluting industrial capacity, including steel.

It aims to cut steel capacity by 60 million tonnes over 2013-2017 and has also drawn up an action plan that will see the relocation of 5 million tonnes of production to other regions by 2017.

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