As the imports of Chinese-made cold-rolled steel sheets increase into Korea, followed by a rise in thick plate and hot-rolled coil imports, Korean steelmakers are worried over the prospect of being overtaken by Chinese suppliers in all product areas.

According to the Korea Iron & Steel Association, the first-half year imports of cold-rolled steel sheets from China amounted to 486.9kt, up 23.3% from the same six months last year. This represents about 20% of domestic consumption. At this rate it is projected that the figure by the end of the year will be in excess of Mt.

Of this cold-rolled steel, the import volume of zinc-coated galvanized steel sheets was 331.592kt, 7.2% higher than the same period a year ago. Domestically, this product is supplied mainly by POSCO, Hyundai Hysco, and Dongbu Steel. As domestic car makers such as GM Korea are increasing the use of Chinese-made galvanized steel sheets, the import volume has increased rapidly.

Source: ‘The Korea Economic Daily’, Seoul; 20 July 2013