SHANGHAI, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese steel producers saw their profits fall 18.2 percent year on year in the first five months of 2019 as rising costs hurt earnings, an industry association official said Friday in Shanghai.
Qu Xiuli, vice chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), said the combined profits of CISA's member enterprises totaled 85.5 billion yuan (12.4 billion U.S. dollars) in the January-May period.
Qu told the China Steel Derivatives International Conference that the prices of imported iron ores would become more reasonable and the price gains in the first half of the year are not expected to continue in the second half.
Prices of imported iron ores have surged over 50 percent this year due to factors including stronger market demand, a mining disaster in Brazil and hurricanes in Australia. Market speculation may also play a role, Qu said.
China's crude steel output exceeded 400 million tonnes in the five months, up 10.2 percent year on year, Qu said.
Due to tougher environment protection rules and falling profit margins, the growth in steel output is expected to slow down while steel demand is also forecast to weaken, Qu said.
A rising supply of iron ores and weakening steel production are expected to bring down the iron ore prices to a reasonable range, Qu said.