According to China’s National Statistics Bureau output of crude steel in August at 51.640Mt was down 1.1% y-o-y. This is the first time that negative y-o-y growth in steel production has been seen in 2010.

Total crude steel output for Jan-Aug was 425.77Mt, up 15.3% y-o-y. Falling production in August was caused by a combination of a bearish market sentiment in the first half of August, and power cuts enforced by the government causing some steelworks to close.

Exports of finished steel also suffered a m-o-m fall in August. According to preliminary data issued by the Customs Administration, rolled steel exports in August were 2.800Mt, 38% down on 4.55Mt in July.

Rolled steel import at the same time were 1.350Mt, about 50kt lower than in July.

Iron ore import in August at 44.6Mt also underwent a m-o-m fall, about 6.6Mt lower than July. This was in response to falling steel output.

The fall in production plus the fall in export meant some m-o-m increase in apparent steel consumption which, on a crude steel basis, was 50.1574Mt in August, up 3.5% m-o-m but down 3.9% y-o-y.

Source: China Metals e-mail