Excess steelmaking capacity remains a challenge for steelmakers. A significant difference between capacity and demand could contribute to financial stress for individual steel producers and the sector as a whole. The steel sector’s ambitions to decarbonise in line with the Paris Agreement could temporarily add to excess capacity as new low-carbon technologies are employed. The Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity estimates that the gap between global capacity and global demand was 550 million tonnes in 2022, up from 475 million tonnes in 2021. Although this is a significant improvement from the historic high of 793 million tonnes in 2015, plans should be finalised with care.

 worldsteel has proposed the following five principles to guide discussion on excess capacity and structural adjustment in the steel sector:

Governments should promote a swift and timely restructuring of the steel industry by advancing policies that ensure market forces play a decisive role in determining the future of the industry.

Past restructuring was only successful when government support and other barriers to orderly market transformation were removed. Industrial competitiveness was maintained and improved as a result of restructuring.

Market-oriented approaches should ensure survival of the fittest producers. Inefficient producers should not be subsidised to remain in operation.

It is important to always maintain a level playing field between producers. Long-term sustainable producers have to meet environmental, financial and social expectations.

Barriers to exit that delay restructuring should be removed in an orderly and timely way.

Development of a long-term restructuring plan should identify and remove barriers to exit. As the steel industry remains one of the least consolidated industries, barriers which prevent efficient mergers should also be reviewed.

Develop safety net support that mitigates the consequences of restructuring.

Support should focus on addressing the social and environmental impact of restructuring.

Finally, commitments to adjust steel industry structure should be made known and tracked until finalisation.