China's Steel Glut Navigates Future

Steel China
Steel ChinaImage Source: SteelGuru


In the first nine months of 2023, China faced an oversupply in its steel industry, with consumption decreasing and production increasing. The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) predicts that output may decrease in the final quarter due to regulations, while demand is expected to rise in specific sectors.


In a recent press release, the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) provided insights into the operations of China's steel industry for the January-September period of this year. According to the association, the industry grappled with an oversupply issue. Consumption of crude steel declined by 1.5% year on year, totaling 731 million metric tons. On the flip side, crude steel production saw a year-on-year increase of 1.7%, reaching 795 million metric tons. Additionally, steel exports surged by 32% year on year, amounting to 66.8 million metric tons.

One key reason behind the falling consumption numbers is the underperforming real estate sector in China. Both rebar and wire rod, essential materials in construction, witnessed a drop in demand, contributing to the overall reduction in steel consumption for the first nine months of the year.

Looking ahead to the October-December period, CISA anticipates a decline in crude steel output. This is primarily due to stricter regulations aimed at curbing energy consumption and enforcing environmental protection measures. However, the association also expects demand for steel to improve in sectors like manufacturing, automobiles, home appliances, shipbuilding, wind power, and nuclear power.

In August, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, along with six other related ministry-level authorities, issued a Stabilization Work Plan for the Steel Industry. This plan aims to guide the industry's development and has boosted market players' confidence regarding future trends.

CISA has also offered guidance to steel enterprises, urging them to produce based on received orders. The focus should be on profitability rather than on the blind expansion of production capacities. This approach aims to create a more sustainable and efficient steel industry.


The steel industry in China faces a complex landscape. While the first nine months of the year saw a decrease in consumption and an increase in production, upcoming regulations are expected to curtail output. At the same time, demand is likely to rise in various sectors. As the year draws to a close, all eyes will be on how these dynamics shape the industry's future.

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