Steel demand in China will slightly increase in 2021 thanks to stable macroeconomic policies, the steel association said, despite the government urging companies to produce less steel this year.
The economic policies China has adopted to combat the COVID-19 pandemic will support steel demand in China, Qu Xiuli, vice chair of the China Iron and Steel Industry Association (CISA), said at a press conference.
Citing a desire to cut carbon emissions, the Ministry of Industry has asked China’s giant steel sector to produce less crude steel in 2021 than last year’s record 1.05 billion tonnes.
But CISA vice chairman Luo Tiejun said at a briefing that the higher demand this year could be met in other ways.
“We can increase imports of primary steel products, especially billets … to meet the growing demand without increasing production,” Luo said. A workpiece is a rough piece of steel that needs to be processed further.
Luo also said the government plans to implement favorable policies to encourage such imports.
According to CISA, the world’s largest steelmaker shipped 53.67 million tonnes of steel products in 2020, down 16.5% from 2019. At the same time, steel imports jumped 64% last year, while billet imports rose almost 500% in 2020.
As the recovery in steel demand and production in other markets continues to face challenges amid the pandemic, CISA expects China’s import growth and export decline to continue this year.