Imports of semi-finished steel to China dropped significantly in May, posting the lowest monthly level in the last 2.5 years. Moreover, the downtrend of semis imports seen in the first five months this year will continue in the coming three months, taking into account falling local prices in China and the slowdown of consumption due to the weakness of the real estate industry.
In May, China’s semi-finished steel imports decreased by 13.8% month on month to 360,000 mt, which is the lowest monthly level since November 2019, according to China’s customs authorities. The figure is down 70.8 % from May 2021.
In the January-May period of the current year, China’s semi-finished steel imports were down 26.1 % year on year to 3.286 million mt. The billet imports in the first five months posted a sharper fall compared to the January-March period, when the imports were down 13 % year on year.
At the same time, slab imports to China surged at the beginning of this year, though import deals in past months have been slower, which will result in lower import volumes in the June-August period.