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NBS: China’s Jan-Apr crude steel output up 1.3% on year

China’s crude steel output grew 1.3% on year to 319.5 million tonnes over January-April, with the growth slightly higher than the 1.2% for the first quarter, but way below the 8.3% on-year rise for 2019, Mysteel Global understood from the data of the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on May 15.

For April alone, the output grew 0.2% on year or 7.7% on month to about 85 million tonnes, and the daily production averaged 2.83 million tonnes/day, indicating that China’s steel production had returned to normal levels prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the NBS’ data.

This has been of little surprise, as April is usually a traditional peak season for steel consumption in China, and Beijing’s series of economic stimulating efforts have boosted the domestic steel mills’ confidence in ramping up output, Mysteel Global notes.

China’s spot trading of construction steel comprising rebar, wire rod and bar-in-coil among the 237 traders averaged 234,572 t/d in April, up 38.5% from March, or 8.8% higher on year, according to Mysteel’s data, as some demand delayed by the outbreak of COVID-19 had been released last month.

In April, China’s finished steel production reversed up 3.6% on year or 8.2% on month to 107 million tonnes, and the total production over January-April, as a result, slipped merely 0.2% on year to 374.4 million tonnes, as against the 1.6% on-year decline for the first three months, according to NBS’ data.

China’s domestic steel prices, nevertheless, were still far lower than a year ago, as total stocks of the five finished steel products comprising rebar, wire rod, hot-rolled coil, cold-rolled coil and medium plate held by traders in the 35 Chinese cities totalled 18.8 million tonnes as of April 30, up 51% on year despite a 20.1% on-month drop.

China's national price of the HRB 400 20mm dia rebar, therefore, went up Yuan 8/tonne ($1.1/t) on month but still Yuan 628/t lower on year, reaching Yuan 3,619/t including the 13% VAT as of April 30, according to Mysteel’s data.

Written by Nancy Zheng, zhengmm@mysteel.com

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