China's steelmakers posted strong first-quarter gains powered by higher prices, increased output and soaring demand, the South China Morning Post reported. Baoshan Iron & Steel (Baosteel) said net profits jumped 156% to US$480 million in the first three months of the year. Competitor Maanshan Iron & Steel posted a jump in earnings of 80% to US$69 million while Shanxi Taigan Stainless Steel said net profits jumped a massive 759% to US$160 million. Other steelmakers reported equally, if not more, impressive gains. Steelmakers in China produced 22.3% more crude steel than the first quarter of 2006 for a total of 114.7 million tons and exported 120% more for a total of 14.13 million tons. A rebound in fourth quarter prices helped power the jump in profits. Prices have risen 0.5% so far this year and are expected to climb further.