China steel exports to remain high in 2017: report

BEIJING – China’s steel exports will remain high in 2017 due to flat consumption domestically and slow capacity rationalization, a recent report pointed out, forecasting exports at 100 million tons next year.

International rating agency Fitch expects Chinese apparent steel consumption to remain between 700 and 705 million tons next year, reflecting decelerating property growth, stable infrastructure investment growth, and a favorable outlook for Chinese automobile and appliance consumption.

On the other hand, capacity rationalization will remain a key theme of the sector, with a target of 14 million to 27 million tons annually until 2020.

As a result, exports should remain high in 2017 as Chinese producers continue to benefit from the yuan’s exchange rate and lower raw-material prices, the report concludes.

China’s over-supplied steel sector experienced years of plunging prices and factory shutdowns due to the sluggish economy. However, with encouragement from the upward trend of prices from the beginning of this year, many steel mills are resuming production.

Official data showed China’s crude steel production increased 0.4 percent year on year to 603.78 million tons in the January-September period.

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