Chinese steel exporters increased the overall shipments in December, owing to more competitive prices in late October. Annual exports exceeded expectations in 2021.
Last month, finished steel shipments jumped by 15.3% from November to 5.026 million t, according to the latest data from the General Administration of Customs, published on Friday. The main reason for the rise was a sharp drop in market prices in late October and early November when most deals for December shipment had been concluded. The export quotes for HRC, a major steel export item, lost $115/t on average from mid-October to mid-November.
Total 2021 finished steel exports surged even more – by 24.6% to 66.9 million t, although the central government ordered mills to keep the volume no higher than in 2020. This instruction was among the main reasons for slower export shipments in July-November. However, the decision to flatten exports was announced in mid-2021, while the high export volumes in H1 made it impossible to achieve the goal in just over six months.
Finished steel imports fell by 29.5% to 14.27 million t last year, as the import boom seen in 2020 slowed down as foreign economies recovered from COVID-19 lockdowns.