ArcelorMittal falls into the red as sales slow

ARCELORMITTAL, the world&rsquo;s largest steelmaker, posted its third quarterly loss in a row yesterday and forecast only a gradual second-half pick-up after weak demand hit prices.<br /><br />The group reported a second quarter net loss of &euro;581m (&pound;502m), against a profit of &euro;3.7bn a year earlier.<br /><br />Chief financial officer Aditya Mittal said the company had seen initial signs of recovery, with destocking drawing to a close and price rises in various markets.<br /><br />He said: &ldquo;We are expecting the first half will be the bottom of the cycle. In the second half we should be see gradual demand growth and price increases &ndash; clearly from very low levels though.&rdquo;<br /><br />He added: &ldquo;The fourth quarter should see further improvement but a full recovery will be slow and progressive.&rdquo;<br /><br />Overall, Mittal said he expected global demand for steel to fall by 10 per cent this year, but that demand in China was currently running 10 per cent higher than last year.<br /><br />For the third quarter, the company said its much-watched core profit would be $1.4bn to $1.8bn (&pound;855m to &pound;1.1bn).