Chinese steel executives have expressed doubts as to whether the boom times will ever return to the industry, as the market declines both at home and abroad, the Wall Street Journal reported. "We think that the era of high profits for steel companies has already come to an end," said Yang Siming, chairman of Nanjing Iron & Steel Group. With the domestic housing market struggling, steel output plunged 17% in October. China produces a third of the world’s steel and so the impact is being felt worldwide, with demand for the minerals used in steel production, notably iron ore, badly hit. Mining giant BHP Billiton announced on Tuesday that it had abandoned its bid for rival Rio Tinto. The company is now focusing on preserving its finances. Chang Chia-Juch, chairman of Taiwan’s China Steel, which sells as much as 75% of its production in the domestic market, said the collapse of the takeover is "very good for the steel industry," as it will ensure more competitive pricing for iron ore.