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CSSC: China’s 2020 stainless output exceeds 30 mln t

Posted on 27 January 2021

Chinese production of crude stainless steel for the whole of 2020 exceeded the 30 million tonnes-level for the first time ever to reach 30.14 million tonnes, representing an increase of 739,400 tonnes or 2.5% on year, according to the latest data released by Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprises Association (CSSC).

Within the output total, chromium-nickel 300-series stainless remained the dominant grade and accounted for 47.71% of the total last year, up 1.82 percentage points from that for 2019, while the proportion for 400-series stainless also increased by 0.94 percentage point on year to 19.66% last year.

In contrast, the proportion of chromium- and manganese-contained 200-series stainless in China’s total output declined by 2.78 percentage points on year to 32% last year, as the production of this grade stainless slipped by 5.7% on year, CSSC data showed.

China’s 2020 crude stainless steel output (million tonnes)

Product

Jan-Dec

YoY (%)

200-series

9.64

-5.68%

300-series

14.38

6.58%

400-series

5.93

7.68%

Source: CSSC

The growth in total stainless production was mainly attributed to the improvement in stainless consumption, as demand from end-users recovered gradually from the second quarter of last year when the advance of the COVID-19 epidemic across the country was generally brought under control through government measures to combat the spread of the virus, Mysteel Global noted.

For 2020, China’s apparent stainless consumption was assessed at 25.6 million tonnes, growing at the fast rate of 6.5% on year – equivalent to 1.6 million tonnes – as against the on-year rise of 2.5% in output, according to CSSC data.

Domestic stainless stocks started to empty in late March with the recovery in demand from end-users. Mysteel’s weekly survey at the time showed that inventories of all grades stainless steel at the commercial warehouses in Wuxi and Foshan, China’s two core stainless trading hubs, had fallen to normal levels by mid-June, with the total volume reaching 472,957 tonnes as of June 11, down 1.9% on year.

Domestic stainless prices had shown signs of recovery in mid-April when the great pressure from high stocks had eased to some extent though nonetheless, for the whole year of 2020 the average price was lower than that for 2019, Mysteel Global noted.

For example, the average price of 304/2B 2mm stainless cold rolled coil in Wuxi in East China’s Jiangsu province averaged Yuan 14,381/tonne ($2,221/t) in-warehouse and including the 13% VAT during 2020, lower by Yuan 734/t from the prior year, according to Mysteel’s data.

Driven by the firm demand in the domestic market, China’s stainless imports surged by 61.3% on year to 1.8 million tonnes in 2020, while the country’s stainless exports dropped by about 7% from that for 2019 to 3.4 million tonnes, CSSC data showed, as the on-going battle to curb the pandemic in other countries and regions reduced local end-users’ demand for stainless products.

Source : Mysteel Global