china sheet steel

China Sheet Steel Demand and Supply in 2021

China remains the largest producer and consumer of sheet steel in the world, and the industry experienced turbulence in 2020. However, the situation improved rapidly, leading to slight growth in 2021, with imports contributing to on-going demand. The trend is backed by ongoing industrial activities, infrastructure developments, and recovery of the automotive industry. This article discusses the current sheet steel situation in China, including production levels, consumption, and industry outlook.

Production Levels

In 2020, China’s sheet steel production declined, recording a 4.9% decrease. This fall was primarily attributed to Covid-19 related disruptions that led to shutdowns and factory closures. However, the sector recorded positive growth in 2021, with production levels projected to hit 1.07 billion tons, up by 2% from 2020.

Consumption Levels

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the economy that saw lower sheet steel consumption levels, 2021 recorded an upward trend that is expected to continue. The consumption level is projected to increase by 1.5% from 2020 to reach 1.08 billion tons. The industrial sector accounts for the highest consumption, contributing to 52% of the total, followed by infrastructure development and the automotive industry.

Industry Outlook

The Chinese government has continued to provide support to the sheet steel industry, mainly due to its critical role in the country’s economy. China’s Rapid industrialization has propelled the country to become the world’s factory, a factor that has made the sheet steel industry vital. In 2021, the government increased investments in infrastructure developments, including the Belt and Road Initiative, which has impacted demand positively.

On the other hand, environmental concerns have led to the government’s regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions. The steel industry is one of the worst emitters of greenhouse gases globally. Therefore, the government has enforced changes in production methods, encouraging the use of clean energy and renewable sources.

While domestic production has increased, there has been an upturn in sheet steel imports, driven by ideal prices in the global market, favorable policies, and changing consumer needs. The surge in demand is expected to continue in the mid and long terms as China’s economy continues to grow, with increased industrial activities key to driving the growth.


The sheet steel sector in China remains critical to the country’s economic development and provides a significant contribution to the global market. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s setbacks, the industry has rebounded, recording positive growth in 2021. With investments in infrastructure initiatives and technological advancements, China’s sheet steel industry is poised to grow further in the future. However, environmental concerns require innovative solutions to decrease emissions and encourage sustainable production.

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