China’s me­tals out­put hits high note

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

China’s old econ­omy is dis­play­ing re­newed vigor. Out­put of steel and alu­minum hit records last month, with mills and smelters boost­ing run rates of the prod­ucts used to make build­ings, cars and ap­pli­ances just as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in the U.S. con­sid­ers steps to roll back im­ports.

Out­put of crude steel was 80 mil­lion tons in June, 5.7 per­cent more than a year ear­lier, and up 4.6 per­cent to 462 mil­lion tons in the first half, China’s sta­tis­tics bureau said Mon­day. Sup­ply of alu­minum rose 7.4 per­cent to 2.93 mil­lion tons last month, and gained 8.8 per­cent to 16.84 mil­lion tons over the six months. China is the world’s big­gest maker of both.

The un­prece­dented per­for­mance from the coun­try’s me­tals in­dus­try comes as China’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct topped es­ti­mates in the sec­ond quar­ter. The na­tion’s steel mills are in a sweet spot, with larger sup­pli­ers ramp­ing up out­put af­ter a crack­down on the in­for­mal sec­tor trig­gered a short­age of some prod­ucts, aid­ing prices.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has de­ci­sions pend­ing on both steel and alu­minum, blam­ing China for over­pro­duc­ing and cre­at­ing global gluts. Ear­lier this month, Trump told re­porters that China, as well as other coun­tries, are “dump­ing steel and de­stroy­ing our steel in­dus­try, they’ve been do­ing it for decades, and I’m stop­ping it. It’ll stop.”

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