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24/7 Wall St.

MiningIn an announcement today in Beijing, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top planning agency, said that steel production in the country has reached a point where only modest growth can be expected, not the double-digit annual increases that were the rule for about 10 years to 2009. Output in 2013 is projected to rise just 4% above last years total of 746 million metric tons.

Coincidentally, that 4% figure is how much the world’s largest iron ore miners are expecting their own production to expand this year. Vale SA (NYSE: VALE), Rio Tinto plc (NYSE: RIO), and BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) have all cut planned increases to mining capacity for this year in the hope of keeping iron ore prices from plunging to below $100 a ton again this year.

Iron ore is currently priced at about $135 a ton…

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