Steel products

In 2023, Chinese steelmakers will export about 90 million tons of steel

China’s steel exports have risen to a level that is disrupting international markets and could provoke new trade disputes. This was written by columnist Tomio Shida in his column for Nikkei Asia.

China plans to export about 90 million tons of steel in 2023. These volumes are approaching more than 110 million tons in 2015, when anti-dumping measures were introduced worldwide.

Chinese steel has disrupted the Southeast Asian market, which is a key export destination for Chinese steelmakers, the observer notes. In particular, in September 2023, exports of Chinese steel products to Thailand increased by about 60% year-on-year, supplies to Malaysia grew by about 80% y/y, and to Vietnam more than quadrupled.

The Indonesian Iron and Steel Association lobbied the government to protect the industry, and Vietnam began to consider trade measures. In addition, countries in South America and the Middle East, which also consume large volumes of steel from China, are becoming more vigilant.

At the same time, steel production in China is showing signs of slowing, and prices for steel products are falling. However, the excess supply is being redirected to the international market, aided by the weak yuan.

As China increases its steel exports, it is refocusing on high value-added products, putting pressure on steelmakers in developed countries such as Japan. Shipments of Chinese steel products to that country in January-October increased by 15% year-on-year, a modest increase compared to Southeast Asian markets. However, exports of some products, such as hot-dip galvanized steel, are hovering around historical highs.

In late October, Turkiye moved to introduce anti-dumping duties on hot-rolled steel, and this applies not only to steel from China but also from India, Russia and Japan.

The growth in Chinese steel exports has also drawn attention to the country’s overcapacity. The government has told the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Steel Committee that China will make efforts to address this problem on its own.

As GMK Center reported earlier, Chinese steel companies in January-November 2023 increased exports of steel products by 35.6% compared to the same period in 2022 – up to 82.66 million tons.