ArcelorMittal books loss as cheap Chinese steel production depresses market prices

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LUXEMBOURG — The world's largest steel producer, ArcelorMittal, has suspended its 2015 dividend as a slump in market prices caused by cheap exports from countries like China pushed the company to a net loss.

The Luxembourg-based company said Friday that its sales dropped 22 percent to 15.6 billion euros in the third quarter from a year earlier. It fell to a net loss of 711 million euros from a profit of 22 million euros the year before after booking 500 million euros in charges to reduce the value of its inventory of steel.

The company blamed record exports from China and nations belonging to the former Soviet Union for pushing down market prices significantly.

"The already challenging operating conditions have further deteriorated during recent months, largely due to additional declines in steel prices caused by exceptionally low Chinese export prices," said Lakshmi Mittal, the chairman and CEO.

China has been accused of exporting its steel on global markets at a loss, a practice called dumping that is meant to either capture market share or put rivals out of business.

Mittal urged governments to address issues "relating to unfair trade."

This story has been corrected to include sales figures for the parent group, not the European division.

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