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CISA: China’s late June steel output stays high

Daily crude steel output among the 97 member mills of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) remained at a high level over the last ten days of June, with the tonnage lower a tiny 200 tonnes/day or 0.01% from mid-June’s record high to reach 2.14 million tonnes, according to CISA’s release on July 4. The reasonable profit margins on finished steel kept the domestic steel mills keenly motivated to produce, Mysteel Global notes.

The CISA mills’ production in late June recorded a year-on-year increase of 5.7%. Even though the mills’ margins had been shrinking with the softening of selling prices – weakened by the pressure of slowing demand from users – most Chinese steelmakers maintained high production levels late last month.

Mysteel’s survey among the 237 steel traders it tracks across China showed that over June 21-30, the daily trading volume of construction steel comprising rebar, wire rod and bar-in-coil averaged 201,123 t/d, down by another 7,353 t/d or 3.5% from the average for the prior ten days, indicating that steel consumption among end-users had entered the traditional off season when high temperatures and frequent rainfalls hit many regions.

Pressure from weakening fundamentals led Chinese steel prices to lose ground gradually in late June. As of June 30, the national price of HRB 400 20mm dia rebar was assessed at Yuan 3,756/tonne ($537/t) including the 13% VAT, lower by Yuan 40/t from that on June 19, according to Mysteel’s data.

For the whole month of June, crude steel production among CISA’s member steel mills was nonetheless higher by 2.7% on month or 4% on year at 2.13 million tonnes, according to CISA’s statistics.

Finished steel inventories at CISA’s 97 member mills shrank by 1 million tonnes or 6.9% from that on June 20 to 13.6 million tonnes as of June 30, though this was still higher by 2.8% on month and by a huge 42.8% from the beginning of this year, CISA’s release showed.

Based on the results of its member mills, CISA estimated that the country’s total crude steel production averaged 2.99 million t/d over June 21-30, up 0.01% from mid-June or growing 6.3% on year.

Mysteel’s larger-scale survey covering 247 blast-furnace and 71 electric-arc-furnace steel producers across China had indicated that crude steel output for the last ten days of June rose by another 0.9% from June 11-20 to 2.94 million t/d, the highest on record since Mysteel commenced the survey in January 2018, as reported.

Written by Nancy Zheng, zhengmm@mysteel.com

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