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Iron, steel exports discouraged amid lackluster demand

By Yang Ziman | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2016-07-10 14:29

The Chinese government is discouraging iron and steel exports amid lackluster global demand, the Ministry of Commerce said on July 5.

"China's iron and steel output primarily meets domestic demand," ministry spokesman Shen Danyang says. "The Chinese government has taken measures, such as increasing the export tariffs on some products, to control exports."

He says the tax refund rate for iron and steel exports is lower than the 17 percent value-added tax rate. The percentage of exports, he adds, is very low compared with total output.

Iron, steel exports discouraged amid lackluster demand

China's iron and steel industry has a priority of meeting domestic demand in the long term, analysts say. Provided to China Daily

In the first five months of the year, China's iron and steel exports increased by 6.4 percent year-on-year, stirring further concerns that the global supply will further outstrip demand.

"In the first five months of 2015, iron and steel exports increased by 50 percent compared with the same period the previous year. The growth rate this year has fallen by around 22 percentage points," Shen says. "This has shown that China has restrained its exports to maintain the stability of the world's iron and steel market."

According to a report by ZGW, an iron and steel online trading platform, the export growth of Chinese iron and steel this year will fall significantly. It does not rule out the possibility of negative growth.

On the other hand, as China's exports have the advantage of favorable prices and good quality, total export volumes will still be at a relatively high level, the report says. It is forecast that this year's total exports will be no less than 80 million metric tons and will likely surpass 100 million tons.

Shen has said previously that the global economic slowdown was the main cause of iron and steel overcapacity. The Chinese government has been making efforts to keep the production capacity down.

The State Council has issued a plan to reduce crude steel output by 100 to 150 million tons within five years, starting from 2016.

"At the moment, one of the biggest advantages of China's iron and steel products in the global market is their high quality-to-price ratio," says Chen Jingfu, an analyst at the Mysteel Research Institute in Shanghai. "But in the future, it should stand out more in quality, service and brand building."

According to Chen, China's iron and steel industry has a priority of meeting domestic demand in the long term. China's growth, which has become more innovation driven, needs large quantities of iron and steel with higher added value. High-tech and environmentally friendly products are going to be in huge demand, he adds.

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