China accounts for half the world's crude steel production
Beijing - AFP
China's crude steel output fell last year for the first time since 1981, official figures and reports said Tuesday, amid a wider slowdown in the country's economy and European accusations of dumping.
Crude steel production declined 2.3 percent year-on-year to 803.8 million tonnes in 2015, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said. The official Xinhua news agency described it as the first drop since 1981.
China accounts for half the world's crude steel production, according to data from the World Steel Association.
But the sector has been plagued by overcapacity in both China and the rest of the world for years, and global prices have plummeted in the face of oversupply.
They have also been hit by concerns over China's slowing growth, which the NBS said reached 6.9 percent in 2015, its slowest for 25 years.
European producers accuse Chinese firms of selling below the cost of production, and French economy minister Emmanuel Macron has warned that Europe would not accept the "Chinese dumping".
Beijing has banned new projects in a variety of industries in an effort to correct the problem, Xinhua reported, including steel, cement, electrolytic aluminium, flat glass and shipbuilding.
Many of China's giant state-owned enterprises are unviable and Premier Li Keqiang has called for a "cutback on overcapacity in traditional industries as well as a large number of zombie enterprises". State media said his remarks were directed at coal and steel.