China exported 14.43Mt of rolled steel products in Q1 2013, an increase of 18.8% on the 12.14Mt exported in the same period 2012. Exports are being driven by the sluggish local market rather than external demand.
The weak local demand, for its part, has resulted in meagre imports of steel products. Local producers habitually treat exporting as a ‘safety valve’ to dump their extra output, and most of them are willing to export at any price that breaks even.
However, they will face tougher export markets in 2013 as increasingly their traditional export destinations are filing anti-dumping cases to the WTO.