SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) — POSCO, South Korea’s top steelmaker, said Thursday its operating profit slipped 37.9 percent last year as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged global demand for steel.

POSCO reported an operating profit of 2.4 trillion won (US$2.15 billion) and a net profit of 1.7 trillion won for 2020. Net profit fell 9.8 percent on year in 2020.

Sales dropped 10.2 percent on year to 57.7 trillion won last year, POSCO said.

Despite the pandemic, POSCO’s profitability showed signs of recovering in the second-half of last year.

On a consolidated basis, POSCO’s operating profit stood at 167.7 billion won in the second quarter of last year, 666.7 billion won in the third quarter and 863.4 billion won in the fourth quarter.

A spike in raw material costs can weigh on POSCO, but the company can increase prices of its steel products amid strong demand, which could help improve the steelmakers’ bottom line.