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China's steel export growth momentum is not decreasing! How long can it last?

April 21,2023

From January to February 2023, China's steel exports saw strong growth. Since the beginning of this year, due to national policy support, the business environment for steel exports has been getting better and better. In addition, the continuous decline in sea freight prices this year has created good conditions for steel exports, and steel exports have maintained a growth trend.

According to statistics from the China Iron and Steel Association, in February, China exported a total of 6.16 million tons of steel, an increase of 130000 tons month on month and 2.539 million tons year-on-year. From January to February, the cumulative export of steel reached 12.19 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 49.0%; Accumulated export of 178000 tons of steel billets, a year-on-year increase of 177000 tons; Equivalent to a net export of crude steel of 10.969 million tons, an increase of 1.4 times year-on-year.


Monthly Situation of China's Steel Import and Export

From a variety perspective, in February, China's steel plate export volume reached 3.952 million tons, a month on month increase of 10.4%. Since October last year, the month on month growth has continued, accounting for 64.1% of the total export volume. Among them, the export volume of hot rolled plate coils has significantly increased by 58.6% month on month to 1.089 million tons. The export volume of wire rod increased by 53.1% month on month to 448000 tons, the highest value since July 2022; The export volume of pipes decreased by 39.4% to 597000 tons, with seamless steel pipes and welded steel pipes decreasing by 37.9% and 41.8% compared to the previous month, respectively. In addition, the export volume of special steel and stainless steel was 526000 tons and 253000 tons respectively, a decrease of 13.8% and 30.7% compared to the previous month.


Export situation of various steel products in February 2023

From a regional perspective, from January to February, China exported 3.316 million tons of steel to ASEAN, a year-on-year increase of 32.1%, accounting for 27.2% of the total export volume.

Brazil's export volume has significantly increased by 2.2 times to 305000 tons, and exports to the traditional markets of South Korea and the Middle East countries of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also significantly increased, with year-on-year growth of 86.7%, 1.5 times, and 1.2 times, respectively.

Main export directions of Chinese steel from January to February 2023

From the perspective of primary products, in February, China exported 113000 tons of primary steel products (including billets, pig iron, direct reduced iron, and recycled steel raw materials), of which 111000 tons were exported, mainly to Indonesia. From January to February, China exported 18.2 tons of primary steel products, including 178000 tons of steel billets.

At the same time, according to the statistics of the World Steel Association, due to the increase in the cost of raw materials and fuels, the reduction in capacity utilization in Southeast Asia, and the short-term negative impact of the Türkiye earthquake on production and logistics, the overseas steel supply in the first two months of 2023 declined year-on-year, and the increase in China's steel exports to some extent made up for the supply gap in the overseas market. Therefore, based on the orders received by steel companies from January to February and the price difference at home and abroad, short-term steel exports may remain at a high level.

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