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NBS: China’ 2020 crude steel output hits 1.05 billion t

ABSTRACT

Just as expected, China’s crude steel output had exceeded 1 billion tonnes for 2020, approximating 1.05 billion tonnes or up 5.2% on year, according to the latest release by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on January 18.

The on-year growth was 3.1 percentage points lower than that for 2019, as the battle against the COVID-19 for most of the first quarter of 2020 affected the steel output and demand to some extent, Mysteel Global noted.

However, China’s crude steel production had posted on-year gains since April and the pace picked up in the latter months, mainly as the domestic demand recovered substantially since the second quarter of 2020 with the resumption of economic and industrial activities and Beijing’s investments in infrastructures as part of the economic rescue efforts.

For December alone, China produced 91.3 million tonnes of crude steel, up 7.7% on year, and the daily output also recovered 0.7% on month after having retreated on month for October-November, Mysteel Global calculated based on NBS’s data.

For finished steel, the production for the whole 2020 grew more substantially by 7.7% on year to 1.3 billion tonnes, and the December output alone reached 120.3 million tonnes, which jumped 12.8% on year as against the 10.8% on-year growth for November, according to NBS data.

The strong performance in the country’s finished steel output matched the overall enthusiasm among the Chinese steel producers to maintain high finished steel output most of the time last year on the positive steel margins due to the robust demand first at home and then from abroad in the latter half of 2020 on the ease of the impact of the COVID-19, Mysteel Global noted.

Mysteel’s steel pricing assessments backed up the rationale, as China’s national price of HRB 400 20mm dia rebar surged Yuan 696/tonne ($107.3/t) on year to a 25-month high of Yuan 4,579/t on December 22, and that of the Q235 4.75mm hot-rolled coil (HRC) soared by Yuan 1,115/t on year to Yuan 4,994/t on the same day, or a new high since Mysteel started the latter’s assessment in July 2010, both including the 13% VAT.

Robust demand also saw China’s finished steel stocks empty to the pre-pandemic “normal” level by the end of 2020, and stocks of five major finished steel products comprising rebar, wire rod, hot-rolled coil, cold-rolled coil and medium plate at the commercial warehouses in China’s 35 cities, for example, totalled 8.4 million tonnes, or up just 2% on year.

Chin’s steel exports grew on month for the fourth month by December to 4.85 million tonnes, up 10.2% on month or 3.5% higher on year, as reported.

Written by Nancy Zheng, zhengmm@mysteel.com

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