* Baosteel keeps hot-rolled coil price flat for Jan
* Baosteel raises cold-rolled coil price by 100 yuan/T for Jan
* Analysts warned steel demand to remain weak in near future (Adds analyst and trader’s quotes)
SHANGHAI, Dec 12 (Reuters) - China’s Baoshan Iron & Steel said on Monday it would raise prices for some main steel products for January bookings, signalling that steel demand may improve at the start of 2012.
The company plans to keep hot-rolled coil prices flat but will raise cold-rolled coil by 100 yuan ($16) per tonne and some electro galvanised steel prices by 100-200 yuan per tonne, after it cut main steel product prices by 200-300 yuan in December from November.
“The price increase is not big as demand from either auto or house appliances remains thin, and end users don’t have any incentives to make large bookings, but I expect demand to pick up modestly in the first quarter,” said Hu Yanping, an analyst with industry website Custeel.com.
“Baosteel offered very low prices for cold-rolled coil in December bookings, while production cost remains high, so the firm raised the price,” she added.
China’s industrial output growth hit the slowest pace in more than two years in November, reinforcing signs that the world’s second-largest economy is slowing.
Steel output in the world’s top steel-producing country fell 9 percent to 49.88 million tonnes in November from the previous month, the lowest level since September last year.
“Demand will remain weak until Beijing starts to ease its monetary policy and steel consumers face no severe credit shortage,” said a steel trader in Shanghai.
The firm, also known as Baosteel, is the country’s biggest listed steelmaker and its pricing is often seen as a barometer of China’s steel market. ($1 = 6.3647 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Ruby Lian and Jacqueline Wong; Editing by Ken Wills)