b'CHINAS STEEL PRODUCTION SPIKES AFTER LOCKDOWNS ENDBut with global economies slowing, where will it end up?By Peter Buxbaum, AJOTMay 2023 | Published in AJOT Issue #753Chinas zero-COVID measures placed severe restrictions onducers by a long shot. Indias steel production was up 2.7%, as the countrys economic activities. But late in 2022, faced withwas Italys, while Russias and Germanys output remained flat. growing public demands to end the lockdowns, the governmentJapan, the United States, Brazil, and Turkey were all down, the did an about face and reopened the economy.latter two by 8.7% and 18.6%, respectively.That risky reversal led to increased levels of COVID infectionsSteel rebar futures traded in Shanghai have been plummeting and deaths, in the short run, and additional localized lockdowns,of late, by over 15% as of late April, from a recent high in mid-but the spread of the virus was reported to have abated relativelyMarch. The late-April figure of $528 per ton was the lowest in quickly. Another result of the policy change was a jump in steeloverfivemonths,accordingto TradingEconomics,reflecting production in China, thanks to the reopening of factories. It stilldeepened concerns over weak demand in China. remains to be seen, however, whether those increased volumesTherecoveryofconstructionandinfrastructureactivityin of steel will be able to be absorbed domestically and or interna- Chinafailedtomaterialize,TradingEconomiccommented, tionally. despitethecountrysreopeningandaroundofgovernment stimulus and liquidity injections. Steel: Mixed ResultsNew construction starts in China dropped by over 20% during the first quarter of 2023, government data show, and property Many economists are insisting that a global economic down- investments decreased by 5.8%. An April survey showed iron turn is in store, which would depress steel demand, although theore inventories in Chinese ports up 1% over a week, pointing to data have been mixed. Reading the tea leaves when it comes tolimited demand from steel producers, Trade Economics said. A Chinas economy and its steel industry, on the other hand, yieldsChinese steel industry group is urging producers to cut output, a decidedly negative outlook. and reports indicate that the government could reduce produc-The World Steel Organization (WSO) reported that Chinas steeltion by 2.5% this year.production in March was up 6.9% compared to March 2022 and 6.1% year to date. Those figures grew on Februarys numbers,China Steel Demandwhich showed a 5.6% increase over February 2022, and the same year to date. Global production increased by 1.7% in March andAccording to Worldsteel, Chinas total steel demand declined decreased by 1.0% in February. by 3.5% in 2022, is expected to grow by 2.0% in 2023, and to stay Chinas March performance outpaced other major steel pro- flat in 2024. By contrast, global demand will see a 2.3% rebound 28 Chinas steel production spikes after lockdowns end'