China becomes net steel importer first time in 11 years in June
According to the state-owned media citing China customs data released on July 25, China imported 2.48 million tonnes of semi-finished steel products in June, mainly billet, and slab added to finished-steel imports.
In June, China’s import reached 4.358 million tonnes, exceeding June’s finished steel exports of 3.701 million tonnes; this has made China a net steel importer for the first time since the first half of 2009.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics data in June, China’s daily crude steel output hit an all-time high of 3.053 million tonnes/day, annualized at 1.114 billion tonnes; the mill capacity utilization is estimated at around 91%.
In 2015, China exported a record 110 million tonnes of finished steel, putting intense pressure on global steel prices.
China’s finished steel inventories at steel mills and in spot markets across 20 cities monitored by CISA, were about 10% higher on year by the end of June, indicating plentiful supply of steel.
However, China’s strong steel imports may gradually ease in Q4, not only because steel demand in overseas markets is likely to recover, but also because China’s government has begun to address rising property market prices.