UTC+8 ( BJT)

China’s 2020 stainless use to maintain 5% growth

China’s apparent consumption of stainless steel will maintain positive growth of around 5-6% on year in 2020, as the country’s stainless consumption is still on an upward track, thanks to the wider application of the high-end steel in areas such as marine engineering, modern rail transportation and aerospace, according to Liu Yanping, secretary general of Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprises Association (CSSC).

Liu shared her forecast in an online industrial meeting on September 25. However, she pointed out that stainless consumption in other major stainless using countries or regions such as Europe and the United States could fall by 15-20% this year, having suffered from the long and sustained negative impact of COVID-19.

During 2019, China’s apparent stainless consumption increased 9.2% on year to 24.1 million tonnes, with the growth rate being much higher than the 2.4% on-year growth in stainless consumption globally, according to Liu.

China’s stainless consumption per capita also has great room for growth, as last year, it stood at only around 17.2kgs/person after rising 8.8% on year, while that in Japan and Germany was over 20kgs/person, and in Italy and South Korea, even above 30kgs, Liu pointed out.

“Domestically-produced stainless was mainly for home market consumption, and for concurrently satisfying the need in the international market,” Liu stated. However, this year, global stainless demand has been weak due to the spread of the pandemic.

Over January-July, China’s stainless exports reached 1.87 million tonnes, down 7.7% on year. Over the period, however, stainless imports increased 19.6% on year to 826,400 tonnes, according to CSSC’s data.

The increase in imports was mainly because of the surge in stainless steel billets, which more than doubled to 364,000 tonnes, after China’s customs made it clear that the billets were not in the scope for its antidumping duties on stainless semis and hot-rolled coils from Indonesia, the European Union, Japan and South Korea at the end of last year, according to Liu. In July alone, the stainless billet imports reached 122,800 tonnes, she noted.

Written by Olivia Zhang, zhangwd@mysteel.com

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