China’s steel mills produced 137 million tonnes of crude steel during January and February, nearly 6% more than during the same period last year, according to the latest government data, Reuters reports.
The rise in output came despite Beijing’s increased restrictions on heavy industry this winter, which affected 28 cities with high pollution levels. With those limits set to expire on Thursday, concerns are mounting that Chinese production will rise further over the coming months.
According to Reuters, Chinese steel producers having been keen to ramp up their output to take advantage of the current high prices in the sector. However, the data release has pushed rebar construction steel futures SRBcv1 to a four-month low.
The news is likely to raise tensions further with the US, where President Donald Trump this month announced hefty new tariffs on imported steel. Countries have been accusing China’s mills of selling off surplus steel at ultra-low prices for years due to the severe overcapacity in the industry.