In September this year, China imported 2.885 million mt of finished steel, up 159.9 percent year on year, while up 28.8 percent month on month. This was expected by market sources as most tonnages for September arrival were booked in the middle of the year when demand in China was very strong and there was a visible gap between local and international prices.
The firm trend in the local market stimulated buyers’ willingness to buy imported steel products. These figures do not include semi-finished imports, and so the total import figure will be close to 5 million mt, according to sources.
For now, import activity in China is very limited as the difference between domestic and international prices has narrowed significantly and the outlook for finished steel demand in the December-January period, when most of the material which would be booked in October will arrive in China, is bleak.
China imported 15.073 million mt of finished steel during the January-September period of the current year, increasing by 72.2 percent year on year, 12.6 percentage points higher compared to the increase recorded in the first eight months this year.