China’s crude steel output picks up in mid-February

China’s daily crude steel output saw a slight rebound in mid-February against market expectations, as the period was around the time of the week-long Chinese New Year holiday.

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Member mills of the China Iron & Steel Assn (Cisa) produced an average of 1.638 million tpd of crude steel during the second ten days of the month, up by a marginal 0.6% from the preceding ten days, according to data released by the industry body on Sunday March 1.

Cisa members, which are mainly medium-sized and large steelmakers, account for roughly 80% of the country’s total steel output.

The rebound surprised some market observers, as production had been expected to slow down ahead of the February 18-24 Chinese New Year break amid a lacklustre market, a Beijing-based analyst told Steel First.

“But the slight increase was also understandable, as steel output had been declining since mid-January,” he added.

As at February 20, Cisa member mills’ combined steel inventory totalled 16.467 million tonnes, up 10.4% from February 10 levels, according to Cisa data.

The higher stockpile levels could put more pressure on the post-holiday market if there is no significant improvement on the demand side, which is keeping participants concerned.