June 19, 2014 12:00 am JST

The Great Glut of China

For over a decade, China's steelmaking, shipbuilding and other major industries have been cranking out goods in excess of what the market needs. They have been spurred on by the country's breathtaking economic growth and local government officials whose promotions depend on more, more, more. The chronic overproduction has depressed international prices and sapped earnings at manufacturers across the globe.

     Beijing realizes it has a problem. The glut of products flooding the world is causing serious trade friction. And not only is the output binge gobbling up the country's natural resources, it is exacerbating environmental problems at home and abroad. As it has done many times in the past, the central government has vowed to rein in the problem. Will this time be any different?