Lower China crude steel output seen

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    BEIJING- China’s crude steel output in 2020 is expected to ease from a record high this year, a government consultancy said on Thursday.

    The world’s top steel producer is expected to churn 981 million tons of crude steel in 2020 and 988 million tons in 2019, according to Li Xinchuang, president of the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute.

    Steel demand in China is expected to fall 0.6 percent year-on-year to 881 million tons in 2020, but rise 7.3 percent to 886 million in 2019, Li said.

    “Steel consumption in 2019 is better than expected mainly due to rapidly growing infrastructure investment and real estate development, while industrial production is also generally stable,” Li said.

    Demand for steel in the construction industry is expected to rise 11.2 percent this year to 478 million tons. But it is seen slipping 0.6 percent to 475 million tons in 2020, Li said.
    China produced 829.22 million tons of steel in the first 10 months of the year, up 7.4 percent from the same period last year.

    A rapid growth in output this year has stoked worries about China’s years of efforts to cut over-capacity, leading to a joint probe on production capacity at its steel mills by the National Development and Reform Commission and other government entities in November.

    The research body also anticipated iron ore demand in China to reach 1.225 billion tons in 2020 and 1.264 billion tons in 2019.

    China brought in 1.06 billion tons of iron ore last year and exported 69.34 million tons of steel products.

    China’s pig iron output is expected to contract to 775 million tons in 2020 from 800 million forecasted for 2019. – Reuters