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Hebei Province steel output in October drops 5pct MoM

Steel output in China’s biggest producing province of Hebei fell 5% in October on a month earlier as mills wound down their operations ahead of mandatory suspensions during an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing.

Hebei’s steel sector, usually responsible for about a quarter of China’s output, produced 14.49 million tonnes of crude steel during the month.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, cutting its share to 21.5% of the total. National daily crude steel production fell 3.3% on the month in October, reaching 2.18 million tonnes, its lowest rate this year.

Some in the industry hoped the production cuts, aimed at guaranteeing air quality during the APEC summit, would help reduce oversupply in the sector and support prices.

However, producers in other regions picked up some of the slack, with output from Jiangsu rising 4.5% on the month to 8.49 million tonnes. Output from the eastern coastal province has risen 9.3% in the first 10 months of 2014.

Bigger declines in Hebei steel output are expected this month, with dozens of mills asked to suspend operations completely during November 7-12 as global heads of state arrived in Beijing for the APEC session.

Hebei, home to seven of China’s 10 smoggiest cities, is under heavy pressure to cut coal use and shed polluting industrial capacity, including steel. It aims to cut steel capacity by 60 million tonnes over 2013 to 2017 and it has also drawn up an action plan that will see the relocation of 5 million tonnes of production to other regions by 2017.

Source – Reuters

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