According to data from the General Administration of Customs China exported 35.79Mt of rolled steel products in the first eight months of 2012, close to the amount in the same period in 2008, shortly before the outburst of the global financial crisis.

China’s exports in 2008 were largely driven by relatively vigorous demands and rising prices, but the 2012 round of growth in steel exports was driven by severe oversupply on the domestic market as well as slightly higher profit margins if such surplus could be sold abroad.

Net exports of steel started to drop as from July this year, which, although in line with the patterns set in previous years, could tip the balance on the local market, aggravating the surplus so triggering another round of price cuts in the fourth quarter of the year.
China imported 9.32Mt of steel products in the January to-August period, a year-on - year drop of 12.3%, which reflects much weaker demands for imported grades of steel on the domestic market.

Source: China Metals e-mail