London — Global crude steel output, a gauge of economic health, rose 4.6% in the first half of 2018 versus the same period the previous year, as strong margins prompted mills in major producing countries to ramp up, recent industry data showed. Crude steel production for the 64 countries that form part of the World Steel Association was 881.5-million tonnes in the first half. In June, it rose 5.8% versus June 2017 to 151.4-million tonnes, the association said. Production in China, which makes and consumes half of the world’s steel, increased 6% to 451.2-million tonnes in the first half, and gained 7.5% in June versus June 2017, to reach 80.2-million tonnes. "We expect global production to continue to rise in the next few months as Chinese mills take advantage of higher margins and boost output ahead of winter [production] restrictions," Capital Economics said in a note. "At the same time, the tariff on US steel imports, coupled with high prices, will continue to incentivise US outpu...

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