A Steel Slide

Seems to be a whole lot of articles and blog posts recently in regard to how the global economic crisis is effecting China’s export sector, but very little out there about specific sectors. So, in the interest of broadening the conversation, I’m passing along a chart included in the Friday Report, the weekly, week-ending recyclables market analysis written by my pal Bob Garino at ISRI. Keep in mind that – in little over a decade – China has become the world’s top steel producer, by a factor of two. In the process, its steel mills stimulated the world’s mining sector, much of the Australian economy, and resulted in the re-opening of mines in Minnesota (in fact, a state-owned mill acquired a 1/3 share in a Minnesota iron ore mine):


In other words, without Chinese growth, and demand for low-cost, often low-quality Chinese steel (and Chinese-like steel), the world’s steel sector wouldn’t have been much of a growth industry over the last five years. And, needless to note, China’s economic stimulus program is loaded with infrastructure projects requiring steel to be manufactured with the production capacity memorialized in the above chart.

[Updated: Just noticed this good article on the consolidation of the Chinese steel industry in Caijing. Worth reading.]

Off-line until Wednesday …


  1. Karl – That’s definitely it. The central gov’t has been trying to slow the growth of the industry for years, and they finally achieved some traction in 2007. They had targeted small, polluting, low-quality mills … so it’ll be interesting to see how the industry changes, structurally, now that they’re trying to stimulate it back to life.

  2. China will never again grow its steel industry so fast. Some of that growth was export and most of it was construction. But they do not have the cash to build like they did all decade. Gets back to employment doesn’t it?

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