ArcelorMittal SA (ACLJ.J: Quote), the South African unit of the world's No. 1 steel maker, will cut prices for its steel products by between 7 and 13 percent for May, it said on Thursday.

Steel prices have collapsed due to the global financial crisis which has slashed demand for steel and delayed construction projects, forcing steelmakers to cut production, delay shipments and review expansion and investment plans.

The company said it would cut prices for general flat steel by between 9 and 13 percent, and for long products by between 7 and 10 percent.

The main reason for May's decrease is the rand's strength - we are seeing some flattening out in overseas prices - but this has been somewhat offset by the rand's strong run, spokesman Sven Lunsche said in an emailed statement.

Since September, prices for the unit's products have come down by an average of between 55 and 60 percent.

ArcelorMittal itself reported a first-quarter headline loss, but said second-quarter earnings are expected to improve marginally on the back of lower raw material costs and a gradual pick-up in demand [ID:nLT837475].

The firm said demand would be boosted by a rise in infrastructure projects in Africa and by deliveries to power stations being built by South African utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL].

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak)

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