* Steel output edges up in May vs April
* Analysts see destocking nearing end
LONDON, June 19 - Global crude steel production edged up in May from April largely thanks to output from China and India, although elsewhere it fell and stayed sharply down from last year, industry data showed on Friday.
World production in May fell 21 percent on a yearly basis, despite rising from April and analysts said monthly gains could continue as inventories were close to depletion.
"We're expecting output to increase now steadily towards the end of the year on the basis that the inventory drawdown is almost complete now," said Peter Fish, managing director of industry consultants MEPS International.
Global steel production has tumbled this year, as demand in key steel consuming sectors such as construction and automotive shrank, forcing steelmakers to sharply reduce capacity usage and causing inventories to balloon.
But over the past month, prices in both long and flat steel products remained steady and even gained ground in certain regions, encouraging mills to boost some production from the current low capacity usage levels.
"We're a little bit of improvement in prices and people will be wanting to buy until prices increase further. There will be a little impetus for mills to get orders," he said.
Earlier this week, U.S. steelmaker Nucor said it expected narrower second-quarter loss thanks to improved order entries in the recent weeks.
"We believe that destocking has largely run its course, and that service centers are beginning to increase their order activity," analysts at Dahlman Rose & Co. said in a research note, adding they expect the capacity utilisation to rise up to 60 percent in the second half.
CHINA TICKS UP
But for the first five months of the year output remained 22.4 percent lower at 449.2 million tonnes compared with the same period last year, said the association, which represents around 85 percent of the world's total steel producers.