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NBS: China’s Jan-Sept steel output growth eases to 8.4%

China’s crude steel production still grew over January-September, but at a lower 8.4% year-on-year rate than the 9.1% annual rise for the first eight months, totalling 748 million tonnes, Mysteel Global noted from the latest statistics released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on October 18.

The year-on-year growth for the first three quarters was much lower than the 10.2% year-on-year growth for the first five months, Mysteel Global notes.

For September, China produced 82.8 million tonnes of crude steel, which was down 5.1% on month though still up 2.2% on year, and the daily crude steel output for September reversed down 2% on month to 2.76 million tonnes/day.

The month-on-month decline was mainly due to the dampened steel market enthusiasm in early September after a drastic domestic steel slumps throughout August and later on the widespread restrictions on steel mills in North China’s Shanxi and Hebei, East China’s Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu, and Central China’s Henan over late September to early October, Mysteel Global understands.

These provinces contributed to over half of the country’s total steel output in 2018.

Mysteel’s weekly survey on the average blast furnace utilization rate among the 247 sampled blast-furnace steelmakers across China did fall to a two-month low of 79.32% over September 20-26, or down 3.74 percentage points on week.

As for pig iron, the growth for the first nine months was at 6.3% on year to 612 million, or lower than the 6.9% annual growth for January-August too, as restrictions in China tend to be imposed on sintering and blast furnaces that will surely affect hot metal output more than crude steel.

China’s pig iron output September alone reached 67.3 million tonnes, up 2.1% on year but down 5.4% on month, according to the NBS statistics.

Over January-September, China’s finished steel production also grew at a slower rate of 10.6% on year than the 11% rise for January-August to 909.3 million tonnes, and finished steel output for September alone went up 6.9% on year but down 1.9% on month to 104.4 million tonnes, NBS’s data showed.

Written by Nancy Zheng, zhengmm@mysteel.com

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