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INFOGRAPH: China's BF capacity use fluctuates in 2021


The Year 2021, or the second year for the world including China to have battled against COVID-19 and the new variants, has almost come to the end, and the fluctuation in blast furnace (BF) capacity utilization among China's 247 domestic steel mills, has been in stark contrast to 2020, illustrating that the government policy has been directing its movement.

Among the constrasts is that the utilization hit the year's high of 92.72% towards the end of February while the rate was at its yearly lowest in 2020 around the same time, though being by no means being a normal year, but February is usually a low BF capacity utilization rate month due to the tepid demand for steel in normal years.


For 2021, though, the utilization rate scored the highest in the short month, as in the crisis-struck year, government and its policies have broken the usual practice, with the sole aim being to recover the domestic economy, and market forces have had to give in.

Source: Mysteel, spanning Mar 2 2018-Dec 10 2021


Besides, the fluctuation so far in 2021 until December 10 has ranged 74.12%-92.72%, far wider than the 80.06%-95.16% for 2020 with its peak around mid August, and the rate has been on a steady downtrend staring mid-July when Beijing, backed by a 12.7% on-year growth in its gross domestic product, has restated its target on a lower on-year steel output for the whole 2021.


The target was first mentioned in early Janaury but had been moved to a sidetrack as the core task for the H1 was to lay a solid foundation for the economic growth for the whole 2021 and at a compromise of higher steel output if necessary. China's steel output, thus, surged 12% on year.


Next year will be the third year with COVID-19 still harassing the world, and with remaining uncertainties in the development of the pandemic especially with the more infectious Omicron, even China has set the tone for its next-year development as prioritizing stability over pursuing progress, and it may be another year for the government to take the lead if situation does not improve much and normality is still unreachable globally.


Written by Hongmei Li,