China's iron and steel sector has been increasing its production capacity in anticipation of a growing demand in the coming years, a survey by Xinhua correspondents indicated.
By the end of 2005, China's crude steel production capacity is expected to reach approximately 270 million tons, and over 330 million tons by the year 2010, if all the expansion projects and construction of new steel plants are completed as scheduled, a survey of China's 40 biggest iron and steel firms has found.
By 2005, the combined capacity of pig iron, crude steel and rolled steel is likely to total 177 million tons, 184 million tonsand 184 million tons respectively, or up 42 percent, 29 percent and 34 percent on 2002.
The capacity of China's top steel firms would grow by an average of about 24 percent in the next three years, while steel firms ranking No. 11 to No. 20 on the top 40 list said their production capacity would grow by 68 percent on average.
The 10 firms ranking No. 21 to No. 30 will see their capacity grow by about 43 percent, while the last 10 plants will register a75 percent increase.
Several of China's major steel firms located in inland areas are moving their new plants to coastal areas.
According to the survey, private capital and investments from overseas are involved in many of the expansion projects, includingthose from Japan, the Republic of Korea and Germany.
Experts predict a growing demand for steel products as China's economy has been growing at a fast pace in the past two decades and in the foreseeable future, including fast-expanding real estate and automotive sectors, one of the major users of steel products.
Prices of steel products on the Chinese market rose from the latter half of 2002 till March this year because of a growing market demand.