China’s Jan-Feb steel exports up 30%, imports up 17.4%

Posted on 09 March 2021

Over January-February, China’s finished steel exports increased 29.9% on year to 10.1 million tonnes, and imports also grew 17.4% on year to about 2.4 million tonnes, according to the release by China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) on March 7, as the demand from the overseas improved and higher input costs encouraged China to import some too, Mysteel Global understood from the market.

China’s steel exports in the first two months, thus, had maintained a positive on-year growth since last December when the monthly exports volume returned to the positive zone, up 3.5% on year, though for the whole 2020, China’s steel exports still fell 16.5% on year, according to the Customs data, and China’s steel exports have shown steady recoveries since August 2020, Mysteel Global noted.

It is worth noting, though, that the lower base numbers in January-February 2020 also contributed to the on-year growth in China’s steel exports for the first two months of 2021, as the volume levelled those in the corresponding period of 2018 and 2019, Mysteel Global noted.

China’s finished steel shipped out of the country over January-February was mostly booked in November and December 2020 when overseas demand rebounded strongly with the major economies had endeavoured to resume their normal economic and industrial activities while domestic steel supply had been slow to catch up.

China’s steel mills, thus, despite the robust domestic demand towards the end of last year due to the warm weather then, also showed inclination to exports for higher margins, Mysteel Global understands, and the unit price of steel exports over January-February, thus, averaged Yuan 5,692.3/tonne ($877/t), or up 4.5% on year, Mysteel Global calculated based on GACC’s data.

As for steel imports, the gain over January-February more moderate than a 64.4% on-year jump for the whole 2020 to a record annual high of 20.2 million tonnes, as GACC’s data showed.

China’s imports both semi-finished and finished steel are expected to stay high this year, as the country’s steel consumption will very likely increase further but Beijing is determined to cut down on output as part of the efforts to curtail carbon emission, as reported.

Since 2020, China’s GACC also combined the data for January-February, to align with the common practice by the National Bureau of Statistics, as data collection and releases tend to be disrupted by the Chinese New Year holiday that usually falls in either of these two months, as reported.

Source : Mysteel Global