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MANILA: Prices of rebar and hot-rolled coil in China, the world’s top steel producer, rose to record highs on Thursday, underpinned by strong demand at home and overseas and helping sustain the high level of profitability enjoyed by mills.

Rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose as much as 1.6% to 5,238 yuan ($807.52) a tonne, advancing for a third consecutive day to hit the highest since 2009 when trading of construction steel contracts began on the bourse.

Hot-rolled coil climbed as much as 2.8% to 5,579 yuan a tonne, its strongest since 2014 when trading of contracts for steel used in car bodies and home appliances started.

Strong demand for steel products at a time when China is moving to cut output by curbing operations of highly pollutive blast furnaces, and possible further restrictions, pushed margins higher, prompting mills to ramp up production.

Crude steel output among the 318 Chinese steel mills under Mysteel consultancy’s regular survey rose to an average of 2.92 million tonnes a day over April 11-20, the highest since mid-January.

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