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China’s central SOEs to achieve 2016 steel capacity cut goal early

Updated: Oct 23,2016 9:39 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s centrally administered State-owned enterprises (SOEs) will be able to hit their annual steel capacity reduction goal ahead of schedule, an official said on Oct 22.

By the end of October, central SOEs in the steel industry are expected to reduce capacity by at least 7.19 million tons combined, the official target assigned by the government for this year, said Li Bing, an official with the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC).

China has five central SOEs involved in steel production, whose crude steel capacity reached 138 million tons at the end of last year, accounting for 12.2 percent of the national total, said Li, who is head of SASAC’s restructuring department.

These firms will cut their crude steel capacity by a total of 21.37 million tons in three years starting from 2016, according to government plans, Li told a forum.

Cutting overcapacity is high on the central government’s reform agenda as excess capacity in sectors such as steel and coal have weighed on the country’s overall economic performance.

China has shut down steel plants with total capacity of over 90 million tons over the past five years and plans to reduce output by an additional 100 million to 150 million tons by 2020.

By the end of July, China had slashed its steel capacity by 13 million tons, about 47 percent of the planned cuts for the whole year.

Efforts picked up speed notably in August and September, largely due to pressure from the central government.