ChineseCementDemand2011-2013

The graphic and the following commentary are from Zero Hedge.

…the Chinese steel industry grew by 11X during the last 20 years, expanding from 125 million tons, which was already larger than the US and Japanese steel industries in the mid-1990s, to 1.1 billion tons today. But neither China nor the world can use that much steel, even as China’s aggressive “dumping” on the world market gathers force.

In fact, China’s steel production is already swooning—–with output in the most recent month down nearly 5% Y/Y and prices off 26% since January and 40% since the three-year ago peak. During the first half of 2015, China’s large and medium steel mills spewed $3.5 billion of red ink, and that just a warm up for the carnage yet to come.

In a word, China has upwards of 400- 500 million tons of steel capacity that will be idle once its construction boom stops and the rest of the world throws barriers up against its exports. That amounts to economically destructive malinvestment on an unprecedented scale. The idling of China’s giant steel mills, in turn, will create an economic void which will cause a massive collapse of business, employment and incomes up and down the iron and steel food chain.

An unwind of this magnitude is unusual in world history. The last time something even close happened was in farming when everyone was going to get rich from farm machinery, fertilizer, and food production. That would be the 1920s in America.

Countries in that era set up trade barriers in the hopes of limiting the spread of the contagion. It made things worse.

What can be done? Not much.

And China? They have a long history of Revolution when the Central Government loses The Mandate of Heaven.

And one other thing. Steel production uses a LOT of coal. Demand for coal will be declining. Not just because of Obama, but because of China too. And fracked natural gas.