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POSCO Q1 profit falls 11 pct as steel demand stagnates

SEOUL, April 24(Reuters) - South Korean steelmaker POSCO reported an 11 percent drop in quarterly operating profit on Thursday, missing estimates, as China's slowing economy curbed demand for steel.

POSCO, the world's fifth-biggest steelmaker, posted an operating profit of 518 billion Korean won ($498.29 million) in the January to March quarter, below a consensus forecast of 531 billion won from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

This compared with 581 billion won in operating profit a year earlier and 488 billion won the preceding quarter.

Global steel producers are weighed down by an oversupply of steel and reduced customer demand, especially from China, the world's biggest consumer and producer of steel.

Before the earnings announcement, shares in POSCO, in which Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway owns around 5 percent, ended flat versus the market's 0.1 percent fall. ($1 = 1039.5500 Korean won)

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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