Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

Chinese ferrous scrap imports in August were at 4,300mt, down by 3.3pc from August 2019. Chinese monthly ferrous scrap imports have been below 10,000mt for more than a year since July 2019 when it was at 12,000mt. As per customs, out of the total imported volume in August, alloy steel scrap accounted for 3,500mt and ordinary steel scrap accounted for around 800mt.


During January-August, ferrous scrap imports totaled at 17,500mt, down as much as 89.8pc from the same period the prior year. China’s ferrous scrap imports from Japan fell to around 40,000mt in 2019 from 1.81mn mt in 2017 and is expected to reach only 26,000mt in 2020. South Korea was the largest supplier to China with 8,000mt or 46.9pc share of the total imports in Jan-Aug period, down 71.5pc from the the prior year. Followed by Japan with 6,000mt or 34.3pc share, down by 82.4pc from a year prior.


The Chinese government has indicated that restrictions on steel scrap imports may be relaxed. It is likely that Chinese ferrous scrap imports will resume by the end of 2020 or early 2021. No noticeable changes in import volumes is anticipate before the easing, said industry participants.  


In 2018, the Chinese government had imposed restrictions on solid waste imports, limiting the inflow of ferrous and non-ferrous metallic scrap. A quota system in the country governed this inflow.  


China ferrous scrap imports in mt
CountryJan-Aug 2020Jan-Aug 2019% Change
South Korea8,1812869171%


Exports – According to China’s trade statistics, in August ferrous scrap exports totaled only 86mt and the total exports from January to August were just 252mt, sharply down from a year ago.  

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