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Record stashes of steel fill China's mills as factories stall

Industry fears another export wave that floods global market

A worker stacks steel pipes at a factory in Liaoning Province. Chinese steel demand has plummeted due to the coronavirus, sending inventory rising to record levels at the country's steel mills.

SHANGHAI/GUANGZHOU -- Inventories are piling up to all-time highs at Chinese steelmakers as the coronavirus epidemic hamstrings factories and construction sites while logistical difficulties stall shipments.

Prices of steel products in the country have fallen nearly 10% over the past month. If inventories continue to rise in China, which accounts for more than half of global steel production, surplus products may be exported at low prices, pulling steelmakers worldwide into the doldrums again.

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