Chinese Apparent Steel Consumption Drops for First Time in 3 Decades

China’s apparent crude steel consumption fell for the first time in 3 decades in 2014, data from an industry association showed, a further indication of how the country’s economic slowdown is hurting industrial demand.

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China’s apparent crude steel consumption fell 3.4% from a year ago to 738.3 million tons in 2014, according to calculations published by the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) on Thursday.

A decline in the use of steel in China, which is both the top consumer and producer of the alloy, will dent iron ore prices that have already been roiled by a global oversupply.

The day’s biggest mover was Chinese HRC, dropping 2.1% to settle at CNY 2,740 ($441.11) per metric ton on Thursday, January 22. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese coking coal remained essentially flat at CNY 1,080 ($173.87) per metric ton. After dropping for two days, the price of Chinese slab flattened at CNY 2,480 ($399.25). The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($135.23) and a low price of CNY 840.00 ($135.23) per dry metric ton.

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The steel billet cash price saw essentially no change on the LME for the fifth day in a row, remaining around $500.00 per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the steel billet 3-month price held flat on the LME at $480.00 per metric ton.

The spot price of the US HRC futures contract weakened by 0.3%, settling at $583.00 per short ton. The US HRC futures contract 3-month price saw little change in its price yesterday at $575.00 per short ton.

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