UTC+8 ( BJT)

CSLPC: China Feb steel PMI recovers to 48.6

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for China’s steel industry for February scored 48.6, or having reversed up by 4.3 basis points on month, indicating “the obvious revival in both the domestic demand and supply despite the Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday over February 11-17”, according to the latest release from CFLP Steel Logistics Professional Committee (CSLPC) on February 28, the authorized index compiler. 
Last month, “the domestic steel market still recovered moderately despite the CNY factor, and domestic steel demand improved after the holiday, overseas demand grew further, steel production swelled obviously, social inventories build-up accelerated, raw materials prices persisted high, and steel prices, thus, spiralled up,” CSLPC summarized.

For March, both the domestic steel demand and supply may strengthen further, while destocking may pick up in pace, and the steel price may spiral up and iron ore price may stay high, the committee predicted.

In February, the sub-index of new steel orders for both domestic and overseas sales reversed up strongly by 8.3 basis points on month to 43.3, as the national economy had returned to the normal track and the domestic infrastructure construction had released further demand, the committee shared, noting that China will soon be into a steel consumption peak period over March-April.

Steel buying from the overseas stayed robust with the continuing recovery in the various economy, the China’s new orders for steel export surged further for the fourth month by 6.2 basis points on month to 61.4 in the sub-index, according to CSLPC data.

As for steel production, the sub-index advanced for the second month by another 6 basis points on month to 54.7, as many steel mills had been able to resume normal operations faster or operate their blast furnaces at high engagement rates due to their employees’ celebrating the CNY in their migrant cities, and many mills had been freed from pollution-related restriction with their meeting ultra-low emission, CSLPC noted. 

The anticipation of faster recovery in demand and the imminent consumption peak season saw the finished steel inventories move to traders from the steel mills, and the member steel mills of the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA), thus, posted their finished steel inventories sub-index slumped 10.6 basis points on month to 38.1 as of February.

Stocks of the five major steel products at the commercial warehouse in China’s 20 cities grew 3.45 million tonnes from February 10 or up 7.5 million tonnes from the start of 2021 to 14.8 million tonnes as of February 20, among which rebar posted the steepest gain of 2.2 million tonnes from February 10 to 7.8 million tonnes, CLSPC quoted the CISA data.

Last month, though, the Chinese steel mills were still under the pressure of high raw materials prices, though the sub-index of the steelmaking raw material procurement prices scored 63.7, or down 4.8 basis points on month but having been above 60 for the fourth successive month, the committee shared. 

The 62% grade iron ore pricing index, for example, approached the record high as of February 26 at $176.65/dmt, or up $20.6/t on month, and the billet price in North China’s Hebei province strengthened by Yuan 480/tonne ($74.3/t) on month to Yuan 4,290/t, according to the released data.

By the end of January, China’s domestic market had been with healthy capital flow, as the newly-issued bank loans totalled Yuan 3.58 trillion or up Yuan 225.2 billion on year, the committee shared.

Written by Rong Zhang, zhangronga@mysteel.com
Edited by Hongmei Li, li.hongmei@mysteel.com