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NBS: China’s Jan-Jul steel output up 9% on year

Over January-July, China’s produced about 577 million tonnes of crude steel, up 9% on year, or 0.9 percentage point lower than that for H1 of 2019 because of less steel output for July, according to the latest statistics released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on August 14.

China’s daily crude steel output in July retreated from the all-time high in June, down 5.8% on month to about 2.75 million tonnes/day, or a four-month low, as some major steel production bases went through restrictions last month.

For July, China produced 85.2 million tonnes of crude steel, up 5% on year, which was half of the year-on-year growth for June, as steel mills in Tangshan and Handan in North China’s Hebei went through restriction on their blast furnaces and sintering by different degrees throughout the month.

In July, steel mills in Tangshan were requested to restrict their sintering and blast furnace capacities by 20-50% earlier in the month and then the curbing deepened to 70-100% in late July, as Mysteel Global reported.

Mysteel’s series of surveys supported the NBS statistics too, as the capacity utilization among the 138 blast furnaces (BFs) in Tangshan fell by 7.76 percentage points on month to 66.1% over July 19-25, and the BF capacity utilization rate among the 247 BF steelmakers across China went down 3.08 percentage points on month to 80.73% during the same period.

In contrast, China’s finished steel output grew at a fast rate of 9.6% on year to 105.8 million tonnes for July, though it also eased from 12.8% year-on-year growth in June, as Chinese steel producers including integrated mills and mini-mills were maximizing their finished steel output in July when they were still making money.

Last month, rebar margin in China among the 91 steel mills averaged Yuan 199/tonne ($28.4/t) as of July 31, despite a decline of Yuan 104/t on month, according to Mysteel’s database.

Over January-July, China’s total finished steel production totalled nearly 698 million tonnes, or up 11.2% on year, according to the NBS statistics.

Written by Nancy Zheng, zhengmm@mysteel.com

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