GROWTH IN NET STEEL TRADE WAS WORTH $US5 BILLION IN 2012
According to MEPS, total Chinese exports of finished
rolled steel products, in 2012, are expected to be 6.6 million tonnes above the
outturn in the previous year at 39.25 million tonnes. Imports are predicted to
have declined by 1.8 million tonnes to 12.5 million tonnes. The positive balance
of trade would, therefore rise from 18.3 in 2011 to 27.5 million tonnes last
year. This represents an increase of 46 percent (worth approximately $US5
This will be a remarkable performance by the Chinese steel sector. Finished
rolled steel consumption in the rest of the world was virtually unchanged.
Consequently, the Chinese mills were able to increase their share of global
apparent steel demand, in difficult market conditions. Much of this is due to
their ability to produce competitively priced products which are fit for purpose
for a large proportion of applications, worldwide.
The majority of the gain in exports of finished rolled steel products has
occurred in the supply of long products – up by 6 million tonnes (20 percent),
year on year. The most significant improvement will be seen in the supply of
wire rod and merchant bars. A meaningful increase is expected for hot rolled
sections. Hot rolled coil, however, is the only flat product expected to show a
Almost 90 percent of Chinese steel imports are specialist flat products. In
2012, these will be down by approximately 1.5 million tonnes, year on year.
Domestic producers will have made up the difference.
In recent years, buyers in Asia have become the most prolific purchasers of
Chinese steel. Based on 11 months of data, we expect that, in 2012, Asian
countries will fill all the top eight positions in the list of the most
important destinations for Chinese steel exports. In the previous year, those
nations took just five of the top eight places. This reflects the changing
nature of the global economy.
China’s steelmakers also are major exporters of seamless and welded steel tube.
These are manufactured, often by local steel mills, from their output of
finished rolled steel products. In 2012, total exports of tubes are likely to
reach 8.9 million tonnes – up from 8.3 million tonnes in the prior year. This
tonnage is extra to the exports of finished rolled steel products specified
It is clear that the Chinese steel industry will continue to be a dominant force
in export markets in the years to come. Overcapacity is, currently, an issue but
more is being installed. It is reported that, total capacity could have reached
1 billion tonnes in 2012.
Source: MEPS China
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