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Hebei steel production decreases 0.6% in 2014

Steel output in China’s biggest producing province of Hebei fell 0.6 percent in 2014, with a drop in demand plus campaigns against pollution and overcapacity forcing many local mills to cut production.

Hebei’s steel sector, usually responsible for about a quarter of China’s output, produced 185.3 million tons in 2014, according to data compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), amounting to 22.5 percent of the national total.    

The NBS has adjusted nationwide steel production for 2013 to 815.41 million tons, 4.7 percent higher than its original number, and that meant output growth in 2014 fell to its lowest level since 1981 at 0.9 percent. 

Hebei’s output in 2013 was revised down by more than 1 percent, meaning its share that year was 22.8 percent, down from the original figure of 24.2 percent.

In December, Hebei’s crude steel output recovered to 14.47 million tons, up 18.6 percent on the month and 13.1 percent on the year, with mills still compensating for mandatory suspensions during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held in Beijing in early November. 

Hebei, home to seven of China’s 10 smoggiest cities, is one of the front lines in a war on pollution, and is under heavy pressure to cut coal use and shed heavy industrial capacity such as steel and cement. 

It aims to cut steel capacity by 60 million tons over 2013-17 and has also drawn up an action plan that will see the relocation of 5 million tons of production to other countries by 2017. However, there are indications it might struggle to meet the 2017 targets.

The province’s economic growth dipped to 6.5 percent last year, falling short of an 8 percent target, and it will aim to cut just 5 million tons of crude steel capacity this year, down from 15 million tons in 2014.   

Reuters

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