BlueScope Steel has reported a 70 per cent drop in first-half net profit due to a previously flagged decline in commodity steel spreads and warns the coronavirus outbreak will “heavily impact” its China business.

The rate of recovery for the rest of this half remains unclear at this point, BlueScope said as it released its first half results on Monday.

“As our BlueScope China businesses and their customer-supplier operations gradually return to normal levels during February, it is expected that February and March business performance will be heavily impacted,” it said.

“Outside of China, we are aware of some impacts to our supply chains.”

Bluescope posted a first-half net profit of $185.8 million, down from $624.3 in the prior first half.

Sales revenue from continuing operations was $5.86 billion down 8.0 per cent on the prior corresponding first half.

The board has approved a six cents per share interim dividend and the extension of the on-market buy-back, to buy up to $100 million.