Can The Chinese Steel Juggernaut Really Have Run Out of Road? Already?

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Cold-rolled steel

Reuters’ Andy Home writes that  China, the engine of global steel production and consumption, was not supposed to have reached the stage of “peaking and flattening” yet.

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But Zhang Guangning, chairman of the China Iron & Steel Association, (CISA) told the Association’s annual conference in January that “China’s steel sector has already entered a period of peaking and flattening out.”

Iron ore miners such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton would not have invested billions of dollars in lifting supply, if they thought demand for their product was already topping out.

Sure, a slowdown in the breakneck speed of the Chinese steel juggernaut was expected but “peak steel” certainly wasn’t expected until some time in the next decade.

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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 450.00 ($71.99) and a low price of CNY 445.00 ($71.19) per dry metric ton. The price of Chinese HRC held steady at CNY 2,490 ($398.33) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal remained essentially flat at CNY 1,080 ($172.77) per metric ton.

The steel billet cash price remained essentially flat on the LME at $485.00 per metric ton. On the LME, the steel billet 3-month price saw little change in its price on Tuesday at $465.00 per metric ton.

The US HRC futures contract 3-month price saw little movement yesterday, closing out around $535.00 per short ton. The US HRC futures contract spot price showed little movement yesterday, hovering around $532.00 per short ton.

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