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China's steelmakers should cut output - Japan's steel industry head

Worker walks past steel rolls at the Chongqing Iron and Steel plant in Changshou

TOKYO (Reuters) - The head of Japan's steel industry on Thursday said Chinese steelmakers should cut production to reflect weakening demand from manufacturers amid a coronavirus outbreak as steel inventories climb in the world's biggest steel producer.

"We are aware that the steel stockpile in China is rapidly rising," said Japan Iron and Steel Federation Chairman Yoshihisa Kitano.

"We want to warn that Chinese steelmills should adjust their output to reflect declining manufacturing activities," he said at a news conference.

Kitano, who is also president of JFE Steel, a unit of JFE Holdings <5411.T>, said Japanese steelmakers are facing a negative impact on exports due to slower output by Japanese automakers in China, but that no impacts have been seen yet in their exports to Southeast Asia.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue)