BHP expects steel production in China to increase slightly this year, if the world’s biggest consumer of raw materials avoids a second wave of coronavirus infections, reported the Financial Times.
In a detailed review on its key commodity markets on Tuesday, the Anglo-Australian miner noted that industrial activity was improving in China, spurred by supportive credit and fiscal policies, although there were still considerable variations across provinces.
BHP said blast furnace utilization rates in China had increased to almost 79% in April, up from 73% earlier in the year, while demand for reinforcement bars — steel products widely used in construction — was at or above normal levels for the time of year.
If the country does not experience further outbreaks of Covid-19, steel production “may rise slightly” in 2020, BHP said in its quarterly trading update. BHP’s comments echo those made by arch rival Rio Tinto, whose chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said last week that China was “restarting” and “demanding” lots of raw materials.