SHANGHAI -- The China Iron and Steel Association said Friday that it will release its iron ore index at a "proper time" this year, a move that is intended to better reflect market conditions.
The first draft of a document that details the methods used to compile the index has been finished and acknowledged by relevant authorities, Zhu Jimin, chairman of the association, said at a meeting.
"The index will be introduced at a proper time this year after adjustments," he said.
The index will consist of two sub-indices reflecting domestic iron ore prices and import prices, he said, adding the index will be released on a weekly basis.
The steel industry maintained relatively fast development in the first half of this year, with steel output reaching 350 million tons, up 9.6 percent from a year earlier, he said. Full-year output is expected to hit 706 million metric tons, he said.
However, the industry's sales profit ratio reached just 3.14 percent in the first half of this year, down 0.4 percentage points year-on-year, because of soaring import prices for iron ore, he said.
China's steel firms paid 104.1 billion yuan ($16.02 billion) for imports of iron ore in the first half, he said.
He said China's steel companies will face bigger difficulties in the second half of this year than in the first half.
Output growth in the second half will slow down, as domestic and international demand for steel is predicted to weaken, he said. China's steel companies will face a tightened flow of capital and higher material costs, he added.