The 2013 volume overshot even an estimate in August by China’s top listed steelmaker, Baoshan Iron and Steel Co.600019.SH -0.27% China’s mills are still making around 11% more steel than the country consumes, Baoshan Chairman He Wenbo said.

If the Xi government succeeds in forcing steel mills to cut overall crude-steel output this year, it will a landmark event. According to available official data, China has never posted an output reduction in 35 years.