China’s March Steel Output Its Second-Highest

23 April 2016

Amidst global glut, China notched its second-highest monthly steel production in March this year at 70.65 million tonne (MT). With 71.16 MT, the highest-ever production by the world’s largest producer was in May, 2014, data compiled by the World Steel Association (WSA) revealed.

The lowest monthly production since it reached its peak had been in February this year at 58.51 MT. In January 2016, China had produced 62.55 MT of steel.

In both the months of the current year, Chinese production was lower compared to the corresponding months of the last year. However, in March, it grew by 2.9% over the same month of the last year.

The global steel industry has been reeling under severe pressure, mainly due to exports at predatory prices from China. The world’s largest producer has also been forced to curtail production of late, following poor off-take by its own construction sector.

Both A S Firoz, chief economist, Joint Plant Committee (JPC), a government of India body, and Jayant Acharya, commercial and marketing director at JSW Steel, feel it will not be prudent to draw any conclusion at the moment as to what impact it would have on the domestic steel sector, saying India has to keep a watch on the development for a couple of months at least.

“I heard that there has been lot of de-stocking in the global steel market. The rise in Chinese steel production in March could be aimed at re-stocking steel,” Firoz said. Acharya said March has traditionally seen growth in Chinese steel output.

China had produced 68.65 MT in March 2015, 70.32 MT in March 2014, 68.7 MT in March 2013, 61.58 MT in March 2012, 59.4 in March 2011 and 54.5 MT in March 2010, WSA data showed.

India has taken a number of measures to counter Chinese imports at predatory prices in recent times. It has imposed a minimum import price for over 170 products, imposed safeguard duty on HR products and imposed a stricter quality control order to rein in rising imports from China and other countries.

Meanwhile, apart from China, steel production has gone up in March this year over the same month last year in the US, along with India, where growth in production has been steady over the last few years.

India produced 8 MT in March this year clocking a 3.4% growth over the same month and in the US, the growth in production was 4.9%. WSA data showed global steel production was down by 0.5% in March to stand at 137.32 MT in March 2016.


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