Last May, China exported 8.36 million tonnes of steel products, which is 5.3% more than April’s exports and 7.7% more than May 2022.
The average export price in May was $922.2/tonne, lower by $175.3 compared to April and 33.1% compared to May 2022.
From January to May 2023, China’s exports of steel products increased by 40.9% over the same period in 2022, reaching 36.37 million tonnes.
From January to May 2023, steel imports into China amounted to 3.13 million tonnes, down 37.1% from the same period in 2022.
In May, Chinese consumers increased their imports of steel products by 7.9% compared to April 2023, but 21.7% less than in May 2022.
The average steel import price in May was $1,737/tonne, down by 1.8% from the previous month, but increased by 4.5% from May 2022.
The high rates of steel exports from China are due to lower prices of steel products in comparison to other exporting countries, as well as lower domestic demand, which forces domestic producers to direct products abroad.
The bulk of steel products are exported to regions without trade barriers, including Southeast Asia, the Middle East, South Asia and Central America.
Domestic demand for steel products remains subdued as the construction industry, the largest steel consumer, is showing some signs of recovery. However, investment and construction are still down from a year earlier.
Exports are expected to decline from early summer as China cut production due to government pressure to cut steel production from 2022 amid slowing external demand as countries battle inflation and waning purchasing power.
China’s production from January to April 2023 increased by 4.1% compared to the same period in 2022, reaching 354.39 million tonnes.
China produced 92.64 million tonnes of steel in April, up 1.5% from April 2022.
China’s steel production is expected to face ampler pressure in the second half of the year as China’s government announced plans to cut steel production from 2022.