China is considering raising industry standards to force its mammoth steel sector to slim down and consolidate, leaving China -- the top producer and consumer -- with a few globally competitive steelmakers.
China's steel sector is led by state-owned national champion Baosteel Group, the parent company of Shanghai-listed Baoshan Iron and Steel.
Late last year, Tangshan Iron and Steel Co, the listed unit of China's third-largest steel mill, agreed to merge with two smaller rivals into the country's biggest listed steelmaker, creating a second Chinese industry champion which will rank in the world's top five steel producers.
However, severe winter weather, an earthquake and a steel price slump due to global financial crisis slowed the pace of output growth last year in China, the top steel-making country, which had seen double-digit output growth for most of the previous decade.
Last year crude steel output still inched up marginally to 500.49 million tonnes, more than one-third of global production.
But the country is considering raising steel industry standards to force its mammoth steel sector to slim down and consolidate, leaving China -- the top producer and consumer -- with a few globally competitive steelmakers.
The draft plan would limit China's crude steel output from 2011 onwards to 500 million tonnes a year.
China's top steelmakers by output in 2008 (in tonnes):
GROUP OUTPUT PCT CHANGE
1. Baosteel Group* 35.44 mln -1
Baosteel Bayi Iron and steel 4.84 mln 19.7
Guangdong Shaoguan Steel 4.07 mln -7.7
Guangdong Guangzhou Steel 3.23 mln -8.2
2. Hebei Iron and Steel 33.28 mln 7.1
Tangshan Iron and Steel 14.79 mln 11
Handan Iron & Steel Group 6.08 mln 1.4
3. Wuhan Iron & Steel Group 27.73 mln 6.7
4. Anben Iron and Steel Group 23.44 mln -0.6
5. Jiangsu Shagang Group 23.30 mln 1.8
6. Shandong Iron and Steel Group** 21.84 mln -8.3
Jinan Iron & Steel Group 11.21 mln -7.5
Laiwu Iron & Steel Group 10.63 mln -9.2
7. Maanshan Iron & Steel Group 15.04 mln 6.2
8. Shougang Group 12.19 mln -20.9
9. Hunan Valin Iron & Steel Group 11.26 mln -3.6
10.Baotou Iron & Steel Group 9.84 mln 11.3
11.Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group (Tisco) 9.20 mln -1
12.Anyang Iron & Steel Group 9.04 mln 0.4
13.Panzhihua Iron & Steel Group 7.51 mln 0.7
14.Rizhao Iron and Steel Group** 7.47 mln 20.9
15.Beijing Jianlong Industry Co. 6.54 mln -14
16.Beitai Iron & Steel Group 6.36 mln -0.7
17.Tangshan Guofeng Iron & Steel Co. 6.13 mln 14.7
18.Liuzhou Iron and Steel Group 6.09 mln 5
19.Nanjing Iron and Steel Group 5.74 mln -3.6
20.Tonghua Iron & Steel Group 5.44 mln 9.3
21.Xinyu Iron & Steel Co. 5.32 mln -5.7
* In March 2008, Baosteel Group said it acquired two small rivals in Guangdong Province in conjunction with the launch of a mammoth 10 million-tonne steel mill project as China consolidates the fragmented sector.
** The Shandong provincial government merged Jinan and Laiwu to create Shandong Iron and Steel Group last year. The new group may ultimately take over Rizhao, a fast-growing private mill in the province. Source: China Iron and Steel Association