Import of flat steel in China recorded a 65pc rise to 15mn mt during January-November 2020, compared to same period prior-year, according to the latest data by General Administration of Customs of China. Import of long steel increased three-folds or 211pc at 2.94mn mt in the first eleven months compared to the prior year period.
Chinese mills observed a rise in imports in the second quarter of 2020 when the COVID-19 outbreak hit other countries leading to a slump in the demand internationally. During this period, Chinese mills took advantage and imported flat steel at lower prices from the CIS and Indian large steel producers.
In the second half of 2020, Chinese mills aggressively imported steel as domestic demand outpaced the production and inventory levels at that time. Davis Index had reported the preliminary statistics earlier.
In November 2020, Chinese flat steel imports totalled 2.8mn mt, stable from October. However, there were very limited deals for December shipments on high international prices.
Chinese finished steel exports dropped in 2020 amid high domestic consumption. During January-November period, exports of flat products dropped by 17pc from the prior year. Hit by the pandemic, exports witnessed a significant drop in the H1 2020. However, in Q4 2020, Chinese exports showed recovery amid ramping-up of production and increased global HRC demand due to bullish auto market.
In November, exports were up 4.6pc from the prior year’s November and 14.7pc from the prior month.