According to the data released by the World Steel Association (Worldsteel), the current reasons for the contraction in China's steel demand varied.
Construction and Real Estate sectors followed a negative course
The negative course experienced especially in the construction sector started to intensify around 2021 and in 2022. As a result, the general indicators for the real estate sector remained in the negative region between these periods. The floor area of the projects started in 2022 decreased by 39.4% and real estate investment decreased by 10.0%, for the first time in 25 years compared to the previous year. As a result of these sharp declines, pressures on the construction sector are expected to continue in the period between 2023 and 2024.
However, if the support measures taken by the Chinese Government are effective for this sector as well, there is a possible hope for the real estate sector to recover towards the end of 2023. If this recovery is achieved, it is predicted that 2024 will also be moderate for the sector.
If no action is taken, there may be a weakening of the infrastructure sectors
Thanks to the state's support for infrastructure investment, although it is less relevant to the steel industry; 9.4 percent growth was recorded in areas such as water supply systems, telecommunications and logistics. Projects started at the end of 2022 can continue to contribute to the sectors in 2023, but if large-scale projects are not developed in 2023, there may be a weakening in 2024.
The manufacturing sector, on the other hand, is expected to overcome the weakness seen in 2022 between 2023 and 2024.
Automotive industry recorded a huge growth
There were mostly positive developments in the automotive sector. In 2022, automobile production increased by 3.4 percent, driven by a growth of 11.2%. In the same period, another leap was seen in new energy vehicle production and production increased by 96.9% to 7.06 million units, accounting for 25.7% of the total vehicle production. However, if a new incentive is not provided for the sector between 2023 and 2024, it is possible to face a weak performance despite these figures.
Demand for steel moves towards recovery
Based on all these data, China's steel demand, which decreased by 3.5 percent in 2022, is on the right track for this year. China's total steel demand is expected to increase by 2 percent in 2023, while it is expected to remain stable in 2024.