A sign of the fall of China's state-owned steel companies?

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Report summary

Dongbei Special Steel Group's recent failure to make a debt payment marked the first default by a provincial state owned steel company in China. This default presents a dilemma for the Chinese government as it is committed to allowing struggling companies to close down but must also promote more speciality steel production to reduce reliance on imports. Dongbei Special Steel will most likely be bailed out probably by another SOE. If it was not a specialty steel producer we would expect the government to let it fail. Once one SOE is allowed to fail it will trigger more defaults and accelerate the pace of overcapacity cuts.

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  • Dongbei Special Steel's profit was higher than most China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) members in 2015
  • Capacity expansions have tightened cash flow

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