BEIJING — China’s crude steel output rose slightly in the first three quarters this year, data from the country’s top economic planner showed on Oct 27.
Crude steel production increased 0.4 percent year on year to 603.78 million tonnes in the January-September period, compared with a 2.1-percent decrease in the same period last year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Meanwhile, steel prices continued to pick up, with the domestic steel price index gaining 1.04 points from August to 76.3 in September, and increasing 14.57 points from a year earlier, according to the NDRC.
China’s oversupplied steel sector experienced years of plunging prices and factory shutdowns due to the sluggish economy. However, with encouragement from an upward trend in prices from the beginning of this year, many steel mills are resuming production.
The central government reiterated that cutting overcapacity is high on its reform agenda as excess capacity in sectors such as steel and coal has weighed on the country’s overall economic performance.
China has shut down steel plants with total capacity of over 90 million tonnes over the past five years and plans to reduce output by an additional 100 million to 150 million tonnes by 2020.
By the end of October, central state-owned enterprises in the steel industry are expected to reduce capacity by at least 7.19 million tonnes combined, the official target assigned by the government for this year, according to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.