Chinese steel exports fall further in August
Singapore, 8 September (Argus) — China's steel exports fell in August after its prices rose on the back of higher domestic prices, pushing customers to other sources.
August exports fell by 6.3pc to 6.52mn t from 6.96mn t in July. Volumes were lower by 27.6pc from 9.01mn t in August 2016, according to preliminary customs data. January-August steel exports were down by 28.5pc on the previous year at 54.47mn t. China is on track to export around 80mn t this year. Chinese steel exports totalled 108mn t in 2016.
Exports will possibly remain subdued during the rest of the year as supply restrictions in north China amid stable demand from manufacturing and construction sectors push domestic demand and prices higher.
Tangshan billet prices have risen by 8pc to 3,820 yuan/t ($585/t) ex-works today from Yn3,550/t in early August. This closely watched semi-finished steel product price can lead swings in more liquid physical and futures steel markets.
The Argus export price for Chinese hot-rolled coil (HRC) at $590/t fob Tianjin yesterday has risen by 12pc since early August. The Argus rebar export price at $552/t fob Zhangjiagang yesterday has risen by 10pc since early August.
Steel exporters have been frequently withdrawing export offers over the past few months as sharp gains in domestic prices make them revise export offers. But key importers are balking at these high offer prices and shifting to other sources. Vietnamese HRC buyers are looking for exporters such as India, Brazil and Russia, while rebar buyers in Hong Kong and Singapore are increasingly looking to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, India and Russia.
Importers are still tapping China for supplies. A Hong Kong buyer bought 5,000t of China-origin rebar around $570/t cfr Hong Kong (actual weight) earlier this week, equivalent to about $545/t fob China (theoretical weight).