On November 7, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology publically released its comprehensive development plan for the steel industry, covering the twelfth five-year plan period 2011 – 2015. The plan consists of six sections addressing production, consolidation, environmental and new technology, downstream industries and policy and industry reform.
A key concern is the quality of China’s steel, which will be addressed by increasing production of higher quality products including engineering steels, auto sheet and high tensile rebar. The plan supports the creation of coastal mills in Fujian, Guangdong and Guangxi provinces and identifies the major steel makers that are expected to be internationally competitive by 2015. Implicitly acknowledging that China will continue to be dependent on imported iron, the plan calls for Chinese mills to secure an additional 100m t/y of iron ore from outside China by 2015.
Joshua Johnston, Analyst in SBB’s Shanghai office, says “There are few surprises or genuinely new policies in the 14 page document. However, it’s interesting that the plan specifically mentions a number of projects and regions where consolidation, investment and closures will occur. And the detailed forecasts for demand, consumption and production of certain products also offer valuable insights into the direction in which China’s steel industry will continue to evolve over the next five years”.