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Trends and development of steel demand in China: A bottom–up analysis


  • Yin, Xiang
  • Chen, Wenying


With economic development, the Chinese steel industry has rapidly expanded over the past three decades. However, this expansion has resulted in many problems, such as increasing energy consumption and excessive environmental pollution. Therefore, it is important to analyze the future steel demand in China. This study presents changes in steel production and apparent steel consumption in the years 1998–2010. Steel is mainly consumed by construction, machinery, automobiles, shipbuilding, railways, petroleum, household appliances and containers, and these nine industries are analyzed separately using stock based models. The study suggests steel demand in China will rise from 600milliont in 2010 to a peak of 753milliont in 2025, and then gradually decrease to 510milliont in 2050. The construction industry is the largest steel consumer, although its share of total steel demand will decrease in the future. Steel demand in automobile manufacturing, by contrast, will increase rapidly before 2035, and its share will increase from 6.0% in 2010 to 19.0% in 2050. Sensitivity analysis on the four major impact factors such as saturation levels, lifetime distributions, GDP and urbanization rate shows that saturation levels of different products greatly affect long-term and short-term steel demands, while GDP and lifetime distributions, especially the lifetime distribution of buildings, mainly affect the short-term and long-term steel demands, respectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Yin, Xiang & Chen, Wenying, 2013. "Trends and development of steel demand in China: A bottom–up analysis," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 407-415.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:38:y:2013:i:4:p:407-415
    DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2013.06.007

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Shi, Jingcheng & Chen, Wenying & Yin, Xiang, 2016. "Modelling building’s decarbonization with application of China TIMES model," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 1303-1312.
    2. repec:eee:appene:v:209:y:2018:i:c:p:251-265 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Li, Nan & Ma, Ding & Chen, Wenying, 2017. "Quantifying the impacts of decarbonisation in China’s cement sector: A perspective from an integrated assessment approach," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 185(P2), pages 1840-1848.
    4. Ma, Ding & Chen, Wenying & Yin, Xiang & Wang, Lining, 2016. "Quantifying the co-benefits of decarbonisation in China’s steel sector: An integrated assessment approach," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 1225-1237.
    5. Chen, Wenying & Yin, Xiang & Ma, Ding, 2014. "A bottom-up analysis of China’s iron and steel industrial energy consumption and CO2 emissions," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 1174-1183.
    6. Choi, Tsan-Ming, 2015. "Sustainable management of mining operations with accidents: A mean-variance optimization model," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(P1), pages 116-122.
    7. Wu, Jinxi & Yang, Jie & Ma, Linwei & Li, Zheng & Shen, Xuesi, 2016. "A system analysis of the development strategy of iron ore in China," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 32-40.
    8. Zhou, Kaile & Yang, Shanlin, 2016. "Emission reduction of China׳s steel industry: Progress and challenges," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 319-327.


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