Nine steelmakers under China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), including major companies like Baowu Steel, Shagang steel and Ansteel, are likely to focus more on domestic consumption to lower China’s imports in the fourth quarter 2020.
Chinese steel imports jumped 59.6pc in the first eight months of 2020 compared to the prior-year period, which has worried the CISA.
After the COVID-19 pandemic was brought under control, China’s domestic demand was the fastest to recover compared to other countries. China imported a record high volume of hot-rolled coils and semi-finished products from India, Russia, Iran and SE Asia taking advantage of low prices.
In the second half of 2020, the Chinese steel sector has witnessed a continuous rise in demand. Increasing supply from domestic steelmakers is expected to meet the overall demand in the country, in addition to stabalising the performance of the steel companies. Major steelmakers like Baosteel and Ansteel have increased finished plate steel prices by CNY200-450/mt in the last two months.
Chinese steel mills have also received an economic push from the government to recover after the pandemic. However, they remain concerned about the sharp rise in raw material prices — iron ore shot to a six-year high in September and coal prices have also skyrocketed due to short supply globally.