China imports 553k tonnes of steel scrap in 2021

Group of steel scrap on steel plate


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China imported a total of 552,892 tonnes of steel scrap in 2021, an increase of 1,938% from the prior year, according to the latest Chinese customs data.

China has restricted imports of the steelmaking raw material since July 2019. It only began allowing certain grades to be brought in at the start of 2021. In December 2020, China imported just 5,197 tonnes of steel scrap.

In December 2021. China imported 23,711 tonnes of ferrous scrap, a 7.15% increase from the 22,129 tonnes imported in the preceding month, the data shows.

Of the total, 14,429 tonnes (60.85%) originated from Japan.

South Korea remained China’s second-largest scrap supplier last month, accounting for 4,223 tonnes (17.81%) of imports.

Russia with 2,302 tonnes (9.71%) and Thailand with 812 tonnes (3.42%), were the other significant sources of ferrous scrap for mainland China.

The breakdown of imports in December, according to Harmonized System (HS) codes, are as follows:

  • Cast iron scrap (HS 72041000): 800 tonnes
  • Other alloy steel scrap (HS 72042900): 11,314 tonnes
  • Scrap produced in machining (HS code 72044100): 610 tonnes
  • Other steel scrap (HS 72044900): 10,987 tonnes

China also imported 5,239 tonnes of stainless steel scrap (HS 72042100) last month, with most of this coming from Japan (4,573 tonnes, or 87.30%) and Taiwan (242 tonnes, or 4.61%).

China did not import any tin-coated steel scrap (HS code 72043000) or scrap ingot for melting (HS code 72045000) in December.

To keep up with our scrap metal prices throughout 2022, visit our scrap metals page.

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