Baoshan Iron & Steel Co (Baosteel), China's largest steel maker by market value, said Tuesday that it would raise the prices of its major products in March by 100-300 yuan ($16.08-$48.24) per ton, or around 5 percent of its February price, due to increasing orders and rising costs.
The company just 10 days ago announced a February increase in booking prices for its major products by 80-160 yuan per ton, making March the fourth straight month Baosteel has raised its prices. The total increase over the past four months is 500-570 yuan per ton.
"The price hike reflects an optimistic outlook on steel demand in the first quarter," Wang Guoqing, director at the Beijing Lange Steel Information Research Center, told the Global Times.
Prices of Baosteel products are regarded as a bellwether for China's steel industry. Other major steel mills, such as Anshan Iron and Steel Group and Wuhan Iron and Steel Group, also raised their prices for February.
"More major steel makers are very likely to follow suit and raise their March prices," Hu Yanping, a senior analyst at industry portal custeel.com, told the Global Times Tuesday.
Hu noted that orders in the industry have been rising during the past two months, given demand from downstream users is increasing for spring, traditionally a high season for construction and the manufacturing sector.
"Most steel makers can sell out their products at present, since inventory has been kept at a low level," Hu said.
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