Chinese Steel Demand Shrinks for the First Time in 14 Years

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China’s steel consumption dropped this year for the first time since at least 2000 due to slower economic growth, leading to a surplus of iron ore in the country and a more than 40% plunge in prices of the steelmaking raw material.

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But top global miners like Vale and Rio Tinto, which have invested billions of dollars to ramp up output to sell more iron ore to China, are still convinced that Chinese demand has yet to peak with an urbanization drive there expected to last at least another decade.

Rising 0.5% to close at $663.00 per short ton, the US HRC futures contract spot price experienced the biggest change for Thursday, September 25. The US HRC futures contract 3-month price weakened by 0.3%, settling at $639.00 per short ton.

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Chinese steel prices were flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($136.88) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($135.25) per dry metric ton. Chinese HRC saw little change in its price yesterday at CNY 3,030 ($493.75) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal held steady at CNY 1,390 ($226.51) per metric ton.

The cash price of steel billet remained essentially flat on the LME at $450.00 per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the steel billet 3-month price held flat on the LME at $455.00 per metric ton.

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