BEIJING, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Iron ore stockpiles continued to build up at 25 major ports during the week ending on Sept. 3 as Chinese steel makers posted widespread losses in the first seven months of the year, according to Xinhua's latest iron ore price report released on Tuesday.
Inventories of imported iron ore at the ports climbed 1.86 million tonnes from the previous week to 102.53 million tonnes.
The price indices for 63.5-percent-grade and 58-percent-grade iron ore imports both dropped 11 points to reach 97 points and 78 points, respectively.
Most steel companies were reluctant to fill their stocks of raw materials, as demand from the property and manufacturing sectors, the industry's primary customers, has remained weak amid the current economic slowdown.
"In the short-term, the iron ore market will continue to suffer from oversupplying and the downward trend seems irreversible," Xinhua analysts said in the report.
Chinese steel companies saw their profits decline sharply in the first half, with the sector's combined profits tumbling 49.4 percent from a year earlier to 6.64 billion yuan (1.05 billion U.S. dollars), data from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) showed
Of the steelmakers, 37 listed companies were hit hardest by the economic slowdown, with their combined net profits plunging 75.29 percent from a year ago to 3.8 billion yuan in the first six months, according to their half-year reports.
China's crude steel output added 2.1 percent year on year to 419.46 million tonnes, while iron ore imports rose 9.1 percent to 424.88 million tonnes in the January-July period, according to the NDRC data.
The price of iron ore plunged about 40 percent from a year earlier to 99.6 U.S. dollars per tonne at the end of August, according to data from the Steel Index.