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Chinese steel giant sees H1 loss

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BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Maanshan Iron and Steel Co., Ltd.(MaSteel), one of China's largest steelmakers, went into the red in the first half of the year due to falling prices caused by slack demand.

In its half-year report filed with the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges on Friday, MaSteel said it posted a loss of 1.89 billion yuan (299 million U.S. dollars) in the January-June period, compared with net profits of 310 million yuan over a year earlier.

Declining raw materials costs failed to cover losses brought about by weaker steel product prices in the first half, MaSteel said in the report.

China's domestic steel composite price index dropped 14.08 percent to 115.48 points at the end of June, down 4.7 percent from the first quarter.

Average imported iron ore prices, which cover costs, insurance and freight, stood at 138.7 U.S. dollars per tonne, a "very high level" despite a decline of 13.8 percent year on year, said MaSteel.

MaSteel said oversupplying will continue to plague the steel industry in the second half of the year, as demand from the auto and property sectors will remain weak due to government tightening measures.

On Friday, the company's share price retreated 1 percent to close at 1.96 yuan per share in Shanghai, as well as dropped 4 percent to 1.66 HK dollars in Hong Kong.

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