Rising trade protectionism may limit China's steel exports this year, analysts have said.
Pressured by trade remedy measures, Custeel analyst Hu Yanping said steel exports may slip further this year to 96 million tonnes with global demand remaining weak.
China's steel exports fall in 2016 for the first time in seven years, dragged by improved demand at home, rising trade protectionism and the government's resolve to tackle overcapacity in the sector.
Steel exports shrank 3.5 percent to 108.43 million tonnes from a record 112.4 million tonnes in 2015, customs data showed Friday.
Trade cases filed against China's steel products have limited the country's exports and will remain an obstacle this year, said Wang Guoqing, an analyst with Lange Steel Information Research Center.
In 2016, there were 48 trade cases filed by 20 countries and regions against China's steel products, marking a 29.7 percent rise from the previous year, according to the research center.
China has repeatedly stated that the root cause of the global steel sector's woes is a sluggish world economy and shrinking demand, and it is a global challenge that needs to be tackled through shared efforts.
To boost domestic steel industry, China has been trying to reduce excessive and outdated production capacity in the sector. The country shut at least 45 million tonnes of steel production capacity last year, meeting its target.