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NBS: China’s Aug daily steel output up 2.4% on month

China’s daily crude steel output in August reversed up after a short-lived retreat in July, growing by 2.4% from July’s four-month low to reach 2.82 million tonnes/day, according to the latest statistics released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on September 16.

The rebound in the August result was mainly attributed to the relatively looser production curbs on steel mills in North China’s Hebei province, Mysteel Global notes. Local steel mills in Tangshan, for example, beefed up output when they were allowed to operate their blast furnaces at 70% of their operative capacities last month (compared with 50% in July), as Mysteel Global reported.

Mysteel’s series of surveys supported the NBS statistics, with the capacity utilization among the sampled 138 blast furnaces (BFs) in Tangshan increasing substantially by 17.88 percentage points on month to 76.4% over August 22-28. The BF capacity utilization rate among the 247 BF steelmakers across China Mysteel tracks also marked a month-on-month rise of 3.16 percentage points to 81.6% during the same period.

However, daily crude steel output in August was much lower than the record high of 2.92 million t/d witnessed in June, as domestic steelmakers faced great pressure in August amid unstable demand from downstream users and the sharply falling steel prices during that month – developments which aggravated the pessimism in the domestic market and encouraged the mills to take measures to control production.

As of August 30, China’s national average price of HRB400 20mm dia rebar had declined to Yuan 3,742/tonne ($529/t) including 13% VAT, a significant drop of Yuan 291/t month on month, Mysteel’s data showed.

August’s crude steel production represented fast growth, jumping by 9.3% on year to 87.3 million tonnes, taking the total output over January-August to some 665 million tonnes, up 9.1% year on year, according to the NBS data.

During the first eight months, China’s finished steel production totaled nearly 804 million tonnes, or up 11% on year, with the volume in August increasing 9.8% on year to 106 million tonnes, the data showed.

Written by Nancy Zheng, zhengmm@mysteel.com

Edited by Russ McCulloch, russ.mcculloch@mysteel.com