Photographer: Maurice Tsai/Bloomberg

BHP Says Belt and Road Initiative to Sustain China Steel Output

China’s $1.3 trillion Belt and Road Initiative will help support steel output and export growth in the world’s largest producer for the next 10 years, according to BHP Billiton Ltd.

BRI projects could result in as much as 150 million metric tons of incremental steel demand, with 80 percent used in structures and reinforced concrete, and the rest going into machinery and other equipment, BHP said in a blog post Tuesday. Chinese suppliers are in prime position to provide steel input for developmental projects across the 68 BRI countries, it said.

“Among the range of possibilities we consider, our base case remains that Chinese steel production is yet to peak,” the company said, adding that the nation’s annualised steel production run-rate hit 891 million tons in June 2017. “The most likely timing of the peak is the middle of next decade.”

Conceived in 2013 as a way of deepening China’s ties with countries along the Silk Road route, Belt and Road has become President Xi Jinping’s signature international initiative. Expanded to include nations as far afield as Fiji and the Maldives, it’s also seen as China attempting to move into a space traditionally filled by the U.S

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