* Operating profit for the first quarter is 1.2 trillion, which is 19% less
* Compares analyst scores in Refinitiv data
* The company expects steel prices to rise
* But says that slowing demand, increasing costs will hurt profits
South Korean steel maker POSCO announced on Wednesday that its first quarter earnings declined by 19 percent year-on-year against a background of higher raw material costs and analyst forecasts.
POSCO said they expect higher material costs and a slowdown in steel demand to reduce profitability this year, although steel prices are expected to rise.
Fifth largest steel producer in the world said in a statement that it achieved a consolidated operating profit of $ 1.2 trillion in the first quarter ($ 1.05 billion), compared with 1.49 trillion.
This corresponds to a median estimate of 1.2 trillion won by 14 analysts, according to a poll of I / B / E / S Refinitiv.
POSCO's first-quarter earnings rose 1% to 16 trillion, and net profit fell 28% to 778 billion.
In the first quarter of the year, iron ore's basic iron ore prices rose by more than 20 percent after the deadly mine mine of Vale in Brazil at the end of January.
Shares of POSCO rose 0.8% to 0201 GMT, while the broader KOSPI market declined by 0.4%. ($ 1 = 1,143,700 earned) (Report by Jane Chun and Hyundai Jin, Editing by Joseph Radford)