Global steel glut causes problems

  • 12/05/2016
Global steel glut causes problems

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and US President Barack Obama have discussed the global glut in steel supply, which many blame on chronic over-capacity at Chinese producers.

China's steel production hit a record high earlier this year as rising prices, and profits, encouraged mills that had been shut or suspended to resume output.

In a phone call late on Wednesday, the two leaders "discussed the need to work together to address the global glut in steel", the White House said in a statement.

China, the world's top steel producer and exporter, is also the fifth-largest importer of steel, buying an equivalent of 13.57 million tonnes of crude steel last year.

Last month, China and other major steel producers failed to agree on measures to tackle the overcapacity crisis, prompting the US, European Union and others to call for urgent action.

China plans to shed 100-150 million tonnes of domestic crude steel capacity in the next five years in a bid to help tackle huge capacity overhangs that have saddled domestic firms with losses and debts.

Mr Turnbull said he had raised the issue with top Chinese officials and that while he welcomed their commitment, more than "strong intentions" were needed.

Chinese officials have said that they are already taking sufficient steps to curb capacity, while state news said blaming China for the global steel industry crisis was a lazy excuse for protectionism that would be counter-productive.

AAP