Wires

UPDATE 1-Baosteel keeps prices steady for 2nd month, surprises market

* Rival Wuhan Steel raises prices for November

* China steel demand has not rebounded substantially-analyst

By Ruby Lian and Fayen Wong

SHANGHAI, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Baoshan Iron and Steel, China's largest listed steelmaker, will keep pricesof its main products unchanged for a second straight month inNovember, surprising the market that was expecting a hike givenrecent gains in spot prices.

Shanghai rebar futures surged to a two-month top,recovering almost 15 percent from a record low hit in earlySeptember, on hopes demand would pick up as China graduallyboosts liquidity to aid a slowing economy.

Spot steel prices in China, the world's largeststeel-producing country, have similarly risen since last monthon expectations of a recovery in demand.

"It was widely expected that the company would raise pricesto catch up with gains in the spot market, but its movesuggested it remained cautious over the near-term outlook," saidDai Xianghui, analyst with SDIC CGOC Futures in Beijing.

Shanghai-based Baosteel said on Wednesday that it would keepprices for major products including hot-rolled coil andcold-rolled coil unchanged.

Baosteel's pricing decisions usually set the benchmark forChina's steel sector, although other steelmakers appear to bemore bullish.

Another leading Chinese steel producer, Wuhan Iron & Steel, raised hot-rolled coil prices by 150 yuan ($24) pertonne and cold-rolled coil prices by 100 yuan per tonne forNovember, traders said.

Baosteel's current prices are still higher than current spotmarket prices, said Dai, which may be partly why the producerleft prices steady.

Baosteel earlier closed a 3 million tonne-a-year plant inShanghai due to big losses.

Other analysts say it might be too early for steelmakers tolift prices given still fragile end-user demand.

"Demand for flat steel products has only improved a little,and it will be too early for mills to raise prices," said WangChongyang, an analyst with Masterlink Securities InvestmentAdvisory in Shanghai.

Baosteel and Wuhan Steel both produce mainly flat steelproducts including hot-rolled coil and cold-rolled coil forsectors such as appliance, carmaking and manufacturing.

Chinese steel producers including Wuhan Iron & Steel andAngang cut steel product prices for threeconsecutive months during July to September as an economicslowdown hurt demand.

($1 = 6.2878 Chinese yuan)

(Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in SINGAPORE;Editing by Himani Sarkar)

((ruby.lian@thomsonreuters.com)(+86 21 6104 1797)(ReutersMessaging: ruby.lian.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: BAOSTEEL PRICING/