Ahead of the S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards in London, on May 16, The Barrel presents a special series of articles looking at the global metals trade. Paul Bartholomew and Jing Zhang take an in-depth look at China’s steel production in recent years, and the likely trajectory in 2019. Just a few years ago, market updates from major iron ore producers Rio Tinto and BHP routinely stated that they expected Chinese crude steel production to reach 1 billion metric tons by the end of the next decade. This sounded like an incredible amount of steel, particularly as China’s economic growth trajectory was heading south. Further, such a prediction seemed unrealistic given China’s steel output had retreated by 2.3% in 2015 to just under 804 million mt. For many Chinese government officials and steel analysts, the argument went something like this: steel consumption had peaked in 2014, Beijing was slashing steel capacity under its supply-side reform agenda, and the country was shifting toward a higher-value, consumption-driven economy based on cleaner technologies. In short, the era of massive industrial capacity build, so-called “ghost cities”, toxic assets, ballooning debt and excess that China was known for, was coming to an end. China had… continue reading
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Source: CTRM Center