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The country shipped a total of 8.54 million tonnes of finished steel overseas last month, compared with 7.54 million tonnes a year earlier, according to preliminary Chinese customs data released on Friday May 8.

The volume is also up 10.9% compared with that recorded in March.

The increase was within expectations, as exporters generally experienced relatively good sales levels in February due to restocking by overseas buyers, according to market sources.

“But I doubt whether exports could remain high in May, as overseas buying has slowed down since March amid a gloomy outlook. There are still no signs of a recovery yet,” a Shanghai-based trader told Steel First.

China shipped a total of 34.31 million tonnes of finished steel abroad in the first four months of 2015, up 32.7% from the same period last year.

Conversely, the country has imported a total of 4.43 million tonnes of finished steel over the first four months of this year, down 9.5% year-on-year, customs data shows.