China's steel exports rise in February
Singapore, 8 March (Argus) — China's steel exports rose to 4.85mn t in February, up by 4pc from a month earlier and down by 16pc on the year, according to preliminary customs data.
A pick-up in export spot sales in January contributed to the increase in exports, which rose from a January level that was the lowest since March 2013.
Argus fob China rebar prices fell by more than $30/t fob theoretical weight basis in January while prices rallied from other regional producers, including Turkey and India. Chinese trading firms were eager to take advantage of the price advantage and limited supply of seaborne offers.
Asean-delivered hot-rolled coil prices rose by nearly $30/t in January to nearly $600/t cfr Vietnam as buyers restocked and trading firms bought positional cargoes. Trading firms anticipated further price gains from China's spring construction season that from late March can tighten Asia-Pacific steel supplies.
China's steel exports hit a record high of 112mn t in 2015, but have slowed over the past two years on trade actions slowing flows to Europe and US. Firmer domestic demand has also kept more sales onshore.
China's 2017 steel exports fell by 31pc to 75.63mn t, but trade tensions remain high with the exports still at significant levels.
US President Donald Trump has zeroed in on China as the reason he is pursuing blanket 25pc tariffs for steel from all countries.
China's 200mn t/yr steel capacity surplus and its 6pc output increase in 2017 to 832mn t are also cited as obstacles for global markets.
China accounts for only 2pc of US steel imports, but the Trump administration said US census data does not count Chinese steel arriving via other countries. The 25pc tariffs will be added to 169 anti-dumping and countervailing duties in place for steel, 29 of which are against China.
January-February steel exports fell by 28pc from a year earlier to 9.5mn t, or an annualised rate of under 60mn t/yr.
China's February steel imports totalled 1.03mn t, down by 13pc from January and by 5pc against a year earlier.
China customs will release a more detail breakdown of exports by country and classification code in the last week of the month.
China monthly steel customs data mn t