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CUSTOMS: China Oct steel exports up again, imports ebb

ABSTRACT

China shipped 4.04 million tonnes of finished steel products abroad in October, up on month for the second month by 5.5%, mainly to fulfil the orders signed in August, while its steel imports reversed down by 33.2% on month to 1.93 million tonnes, showed the latest statistics from China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) on November 7.

Global steel demand, especially for flat steel, has shown signs of recovery since the second half of 2020, while better demand in the global market, on the other hand, has narrowed the price gap against China’s domestic steel prices, making it less attractive for China to source steel products from overseas markets, resulting in the slump from the record high in September, Mysteel Global noted.
 

China’s January-October steel imports, nevertheless, was still 73.9% higher on year, approximating 17 million tonnes, GACC’s data showed.
 

China’s steel exports, however, have been recovering from the 3.67 million tonnes in August, or a new low since January 2013, and over January-October, the volume totalled 44.43 million tonnes, still down 19.3% on year but slightly better than the 19.6% on-year drop over January-September, according to GACC data.
 

The China Iron & Steel Association expects the country’s steel exports decline to recover to around 15% on year due to higher volume for the fourth quarter of 2020 on the growing pricing competitiveness of the Chinese steel products, which, has so far, seemed to be the case, Mysteel Global noted.
 

Since mid-August, China’s steel export price gap against the global level has been narrowing, with that of the SS400 4.75mm hot-rolled coil, for example, up $32/tonne on month to $505 FOB Tianjin port in North China as of August 21, just slightly higher than the offering price of SAE1006 HRC at $505-510/t CIF by the Vietnam-based Formosa Ha Tinh Steel (FHS) on August 13, as the latter was up $45/t on month for October deliveries both to the domestic and overseas markets, according to Mysteel’s market tracking.
 

For November, Mysteel estimates China’s steel exports to grow to 4.8 million tonnes while imports to decline further to 1.2-1.5 million tonnes, due to the further narrowing price gaps in and out of China in September before the Chinese Yuan appreciation against the U.S. Dollar.
 

Written by Olivia Zhang, zhangwd@mysteel.com

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