China’s Oct finished steel exports hit year’s low

China exported 4.5 million tonnes of finished steel products in October, down by another 423,000 tonnes or 8.6% on month and making for the lowest monthly total so far this year, according to the latest release by the country’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) on November 7. By October, China’s finished steel exports had declined for four months in a row.
Last month’s decline in shipments abroad showed that the central government’s policies discouraging the export of finished steel products are having some impact, market observers noted.

“Our October shipment volume declined by another 15% from September and was only about one-third of the average monthly volume in the first half of this year,” a flat steel exporter based in Northeast China said, adding that November volume may shrink further.

A few Chinese steel mills under Mysteel’s survey said that they had reduced export volumes or had not signed any export orders at all for the coming two months.

“The tonnage we planned to supply to the domestic market this month is already reduced because of the production curbs to protect the environment, so we have no plans to ship our products abroad,” one mill source based in North China explained.

Chinese steel producers and traders have acted in response to Beijing’s call to reduce steel exports – those of commercial grade steel in particular – to better satisfy domestic demand and reduce the carbon emissions and air pollution caused by steelmaking, a major steel exporter based in East China noted.

“We’ve been gradually shifting our business from steel exports to imports, especially imports of semi-finished steel, as this is the trend and we need to adapt to it for sustainable development,” he said.

With the October volumes, China’s total finished steel exports over the first ten months reached 57.5 million tonnes, still up 29.5% on year, though the growth rate was slower than that of 31.3% over January-September.

As for finished steel imports, the tonnage for October reached 1.1 million tonnes, down 129,000 tonnes or 10.3% on month. Last month’s result meant that total imports over January-October declined by a larger 30.3% on year to 11.8 million tonnes, in comparison with the on-year fall of 28.9% over January-September.

In general, China’s steel imports, especially those of semis, have remained active amid the domestic crude steel output curbs. The on-year falls were mainly due to a high base of 2020 when China was the sole buyer of many global steel products, thanks to its earlier recovery from COVID-19, according to market sources.

Post time: Nov-17-2021