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Home > MEPS Steel News - 03.12.2014


In early November, Worldsteel, the body representing the international steel industry, published its latest issue of Steel Statistical Yearbook. Included in the document, was a significant upward revision to the figure for Chinese crude steel production in 2013. It now stands at near 822 million tonnes – more than 30 million tonnes above the last recorded outturn.

MEPS has consistently been indicating, in its regular reports on the Chinese steel sector, that the actual annual crude steel and pig iron output exceeded the officially recorded figure by 30/40 million tonnes.

The crude steel under-reporting was recently confirmed by Mr Xu Lejiang, Chairman of Baosteel Group, who stated that the outturn for production in 2013 was 822 million tonnes. This figure appears to have now been accepted as a true figure. It is in line with the calculated MEPS data, published early this year.

Revisions to crude steel output are not the only industry statistics which require modification. MEPS contends that pig iron production has also been understated for all of this decade by similar tonnages to those for steel.

It is important that the Chinese authorities investigate the reasons for errors in the historic output statistics and rectify the situation. This would enable accurate steel output trends to be identified. Related industries depend heavily on reliable data for investment planning etc. This is a pre-requisite for governments, like China, which operates a system of central planning.

The amount of under-reported iron and steel production represents slightly less than 5 percent of the total. However, the misinformation has served to mask any quantitative assessment of the amount of extra air and water pollution which was being put into the country in recent years.

It is difficult to understand how the steel sector’s reporting system failed so badly. The industry supplies a plethora of information which is poured over and evaluated in great detail by the press and other institutions – specifically designed to prepare strategies for the future.

Perhaps the growing private steel sector in China needs to be given the same degree of scrutiny as that sustained the publicly owned mills.

Source: MEPS China Steel Review - November Edition

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