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China’s Jan-Aug steel exports dip 13% on year, Aug stable

China’s finished steel exports for August remained largely stable on month at 5.88 million tonnes in August, which saw the total exports for the first eight months down 13.1% on year to 47.2 million tonnes, according to the latest data released by China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) on September 8.

The August export volume was just a tiny decline of 11,000 tonnes or 0.2% on month, while the total volume over January-August dropped 7.1 million tonnes on year, with the year-on-year decline rate being 0.5 percentage point lower than that for the first seven months.

The steady August steel exports from China indicated that the market has not been affected much with the escalation in the Sino-US trade friction and the existing 25% duties on China’s steel exports as a result.

“China’s domestic steel prices so far in 2018 have been much higher than 2017, which have also been consistently higher than overseas markets, which have hooked the domestic steel mills to domestic sales than exports,” a Shanghai-based steel analyst said on Monday.

China’s national average price for HRB 400 20mm dia rebar during January-August increased Yuan 399.8/tonne ($58.4/t) or 10.6% on year to an average of Yuan 4,165/t including the 16% VAT, and the profit in rebar sales among the 91 surveyed integrated Chinese steelmakers averaged around Yuan 1,000/t for August, or up Yuan 106/t or 11.9% on year accordingly, according to Mysteel’s data.

In the export market, China’s rebar export offering was uncompetitive at $565/t FOB while the actual import price of rebar in Southeast Asia was just at $560/t CFR, both as of August 31, Mysteel understands.

In August, China’s finished steel imports increased 37,000 tonnes or 3.6% on month to 1.06 million tonnes, and over January-August, the total import reached 8.76 million tonnes, being stable over the year with a slight year-on-year decline by 0.1% or 12,000 tonnes, according to the Customs data.

Written by Anna Wu, wub@mysteel.com

Edited by Hongmei Li, li.hongmei@mysteel.com