Chinese Steel Industry Trying to Export Its Way Out of Trouble

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China’s leaders want to move the world’s second-largest economy away from exports. Yet, for its steelmakers, this is turning out to be a bumper year.

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Chinese exports of steel were a record 8.52 million tond last month, an increase of 73% from a year earlier, The Financial Times reported, according to customs data.

Hit by slowing domestic demand, tighter environmental regulations and growing debt loads that are becoming harder to pay back from domestic sales, China’s steelmakers are looking to export their way out of trouble. Their actions are triggering a backlash in the US, which recently approved anti-dumping measures against South Korea and other producers of steel pipes, as well as in Europe, where a steel industry case was filed in mid-May.

Dropping 0.3%, the US HRC futures contract 3-month price was the biggest mover on Tuesday, October 21, closing at $618.00 per short ton. The spot price of the US HRC futures contract held steady around $642.00 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 ($136.77) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($135.14) per dry metric ton. The price of Chinese HRC saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 3,030 ($493.34) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal held steady at CNY 1,390 ($226.32) per metric ton.

The steel billet cash price held steady on Tuesday on the LME, remaining around $465.00 per metric ton. The 3-month price of steel billet saw little movement on the LME at $455.00 per metric ton.

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