Chinese Steel Industry Reaches ‘Peak,’ Must Change

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Cold-rolled steel

As China’s economy enters a “new normal,” the steel industry faces unprecedented challenges, said Zhang Guangning, who was elected chairman of the China Iron & Steel Association last month.

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Zhang is a life-long steel industry veteran who started his career working at an iron and steel factory in 1971.

“China’s steel production has already hit a peak, or to put it another way, it has hit a turning point,” he told the Financial Times.

He said the industry must shift its focus from expansion to quality and efficiency, adding that it is “currently in its most difficult period, it is the most optimal time for adjustment and upgrading”.

After growing at an average rate of 15% between 2000 and 2013, a peaking of China’s steel production would be a powerful symbol of a shift in the world’s second-largest economy after years of growth based on urbanization and industrialization.

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Chinese steel prices closed flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 450.00 ($72.16) and a low price of CNY 445.00 ($71.35) per dry metric ton. Chinese HRC saw little change in its price last Friday at CNY 2,490 ($399.26) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese coking coal held flat at CNY 1,080 ($173.17) per metric ton.

After a couple of days of decreasing prices on the LME, the cash price of steel billet held steady at $485.00. The 3-month price of steel billet flattened at $465.00 per metric ton after two days of downward movement on the LME.

The US HRC futures contract 3-month price saw little movement last Friday at $535.00 per short ton. After dropping for two days, the spot price of the US HRC futures contract flattened at $532.00.

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