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INTERVIEW-Nippon Steel head expects strong global steel demand in 2018

TOKYO, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp, Japan's biggest steelmaker, expects steel demand to remain strong worldwide in 2018, including in top buyer China, its president said on Friday.

"Worries over a slowing economy in China after an autumn congress of the Communist Party have diminished," Kosei Shindo, president of Nippon Steel told Reuters in an interview.

"I also don't have concerns about the Chinese economy for next year," he said.

Shindo said that Nippon Steel renewed its 5-year alliance contract with Kobe Steel Ltd in November, after the smaller peer revealed that about of its 500 customers had received products with falsified specifications, throwing global supply chains into turmoil.

Nippon Steel owns a 2.95 percent stake in Kobe Steel, which has been at the center of a data-falsification scandal that has shaken Japan's manufacturing industry.

"Our alliance will not change," Shindo said.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue)