ArcelorMittal slightly more optimistic about steel market

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By Euronews  with REUTERS
ArcelorMittal slightly more optimistic about steel market

ArcelorMittal has said it is slightly more positive about the steel market but kept its 2016 earnings forecast unchanged and reported a 33 percent drop in quarterly earnings.

The more optimistic outlook from the world’s largest steelmaker is based on a modest improvement in prospects for consumption in China.

Chief Executive Lakshmi Mittal said the very tough operating conditions of the second half of last year had continued between January and March but since then there has been enough of a recovery to hint at improved results in the rest of the year.

Aditya Mittal, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, said: “Sentiment in the steel industry has improved. You can see that across the board.”

Steelmakers worldwide have been battered by a plunge in prices due to overcapacity and a slowdown in economic growth in China, the world’s largest consumer and producer of steel.

ArcelorMittal said it still expected global apparent steel consumption, which includes changes to inventories, to be flat to up 0.5 percent this year compared to last.

But for China, it nudged up its forecast to between flat and down 1 percent from a previous drop of 0.5 to 1.5 percent.

For the group as a whole, core profit (EBITDA) fell by about a third in the first quarter to $927 million (812 million euros).