China’s metals output hits high note
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.”