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Experts: China may increase imports of semi-finished steel to meet home demand

Iron and steel industry experts in china suggest that importing more semi-finished steel (crude steel) like billets from countries including India, Indonesia, Russia and Germany is a potential solution to the plight that domestic steel supplies are insufficient to meet the surging demands as China seeks to cut carbon dioxide emission to achieve the carbon neutrality goal by 2060.

China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) on Thursday published an interview on He Wenpo, Executive Chairman of CISA, in which He shared views in regard to hot questions surrounding the steel sector. He calls for enlarging the import of semi-finished steel (crude steel) to meet rising domestic needs, which could ease the impact on environment and resources imposed on steel supplies.

Xiao Yaqing, Minister of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), readdressed the need to cut China’s production of steel in a media conference on Monday. Industry insiders predicted that domestic demand of the semi-finished steel (crude steel) stands over 1.1 billion tons this year, along with the boosted material needs in fields like construction and automobile production.

Asides of demand increase due to economy recovery, relaxed monetary policies globally set the prices of bulk commodities soaring. China Steel Price Index rose to 146 in the second half of February, up 3.2% from the last statistical period, according to a CISA’s report.

Increasing import of crude steel can help stabilize the surging prices of steel products and domestic steel market, Wang Guoqing, research director at the Beijing Lange Steel Information Research Center, told Global Times on Thursday, adding that China could add imports from southeast countries, including India and Indonesia as well as Germany and Russia.

Wang said that importing crude steel is conducive to meeting the industry material demand under the stress of achieving carbon neutrality goal as the carbon dioxide emitted during steelmaking accounting for approximately 15% of the total release in the manufacturing sector.

China imported 18.33 million tons of semi-finished steel (crude steel) in 2020, according to data from General Administration of Customs. Wang predicted that the semi-finished steel (crude steel) imports may see an increase of 20 million to 30 million tons this year.

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