China’s 2024 steel demand to fall 1.7% from this year – state researcher

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s steel demand in 2023 will decline by 3.3% from 2022 and contract a further 1.7% in 2024, a state researcher forecast on Friday, weighed down by a significant drop in construction activity.

The world’s top steel producer will consume 890 million metric tons this year, officials at the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute (MPI) told a press briefing.

That will leave the market with a significant surplus. China manufactured 952.14 million tons of crude steel in the first 11 months of 2023, up 1.5% year-on-year, official data showed last week.

The country’s steel industry has come under significant pressure from the debt-ridden property sector. Demand for construction steel will decline 4.8% this year compared to 2022 to 506 million tons, the researchers at MPI said.

Steel demand is set to contract in 2024 to 875 million tons, they added, with construction steel demand dropping 4% next year.

Demand from the infrastructure sector will help to partly offset the decline from the property market.

“The issuance of one trillion yuan of sovereign debt as well as local government debts that are frontloaded in the fourth quarter of 2023 will support the infrastructure sector in 2024,” said Xiao Bangguo, vice president of MPI.

(Reporting by Amy Lv and Dominique Patton; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)