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Maruichi Steel Tube profit seen down 10% as prices sink

TOKYO -- Maruichi Steel Tube's group operating profit likely sank 10% on the year to about 12.5 billion yen ($106 million) for the April-December period as increased supply from Chinese companies dragged down prices.

     The Japanese company is expected to report sales of 111.5 billion yen, down from a year earlier. Prices for steel pipe used in construction fell in Japan, Vietnam and the U.S. Buyers of construction materials postponed purchases in anticipation of further declines, eating into sales volume. Decreased investment in oil-related projects also dealt a blow.

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