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Hebei retains China’s top steelmaking province in 2020

Most of China’s top ten steelmaking provinces posted on-year increases in their crude steel production for 2020, and Hebei province in North China safeguarded its top ranking though its contribution to the country’s total declined by 0.5 percentage points, Mysteel Global noted from the latest data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
In 2020, Hebei’s crude steel production, at nearly 250 million tonnes, accounted for 23.7% of China’s total, as against the 24.2% for 2019, and the actual tonnage grew 8.2 million tonnes or 3.4% on year, or being lower than the 5.2% on-year growth in the national steel output, according to the NBS data.

Hebei’s result was probably due to the mixed environment of the nationwide steel output growths especially the catch-up in speed since the second quarter of 2020 and the remaining close watch by Beijing on Hebei with its geographical proximity to the capital and serious air pollution locally, Mysteel Global noted.

East China’s Jiangsu province also retained the second in the ranking though its steel output only inched up 911,000 tonnes or 0.8% on year to 121.1 million tonnes for 2020, and Shandong province, also in East China, surpassed Liaoning in Northeast China, becoming the third largest steelmaking province, and its output grew the most by 16.4 million tonnes or 25.7% on year to 79.9 million tonnes in 2020, the NBS data showed.

“Last year was a turning point with quiet and subtle changes when some of the Chinese steel mills that had been running at low capacity utilizations over 2018-2019 had been acquired by large-sized mills, enabling them to ramp up their output,” a Shanghai-based market observer said.

Besides, the Rizhao Steel works under the ownership of Shandong Iron and Steel Group had also increased the output last year, acting as a contributor to higher steel output in Shandong, and there is still room for the new steelworks to further increase its output, he added.

“The relocation of Ji’nan Steel from Ji’nan to Rizhao in Shandong since 2017 had lowered the province’s steel output, but some of the steelmaking facilities was commissioned at the end of 2019, and so production in Shandong Steel reclaimed some lost ground in 2020,” he elaborated with an example. 

China’s steel demand for 2020 since the second quarter had been exceptionally robust with Beijing’s series of economic stimulating efforts, which had supported higher output too, market sources agreed.

Among the top ten provinces, Central China’s Hubei province that had been hit the worst by the pandemic outbreak, was, unsurprisingly, the only one that posted a 1.5% on-year decline in steel output to 35.6 million tonnes.

In general, the top ten steelmaking provinces and regions accounted for 72.8% of the country’s total steel output last year, or 0.6 percentage point higher than for 2019, according to the NBS data.

China’s top ten steelmaking provinces in 2020 (unit: million t)

Province

2020

2019

YoY (%)

Hebei

249.8

241.6

3.4%

Jiangsu

121.1

120.2

0.8%

Shandong

79.9

63.6

25.7%

Liaoning

76.1

73.6

3.4%

Shanxi

66.4

60.4

9.9%

Anhui

37

32.2

14.7%

Hubei

35.6

36.1

-1.5%

Henan

35.3

33

7%

Guangdong

33.8

32.3

4.7%

Inner Mongolia

31.2

26.5

17.6%

Total (incomplete)

766.2

719.5

6.5%

source: NBS

Written by Anna Wu, wub@mysteel.com
Edited by Hongmei Li, li.hongmei@mysteel.com