China's crude steel production in March declined slightly from a year earlier, according to data released on Friday, but output is still running at a high rate even as an industry group said excess supply was hurting domestic prices.
China produced 45.1 million tons of crude steel in March, 0.3 percent lower than the same period last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.
However, the daily output rate held at about 1.45 million tons in March, similar to February's annual level of about 530 million tons per year.
China's steel industry suffered an overall loss in the first quarter due to oversupply in the market, the official China Securities Journal reported on Friday, citing Luo Bingsheng, vice chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association.
The size of the cumulative losses grew in March compared with the first two months of the year, with demand continuing to shrink, Luo told an industry conference.
China, the world's largest steel producer, has projected that crude steel production would drop 8 percent in 2009 to about 460 million tons, as the global financial crisis slashes steel demand.