China’s finished steel exports down for second month in June

China’s finished steel exports dipped 2.2% month-on-month in June on a weak overseas market.

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Exports totalled 5.29 million tonnes, compared with 5.41 million tonnes in May, according to China customs data released on Wednesday July 10.

Continued sluggishness in the domestic steel market and a downward trend in export prices since mid-March have led China’s steel exports to see declines for the second straight month.

“Exports growth has seen a significant slowdown in the second quarter, especially in May and June. This was due to weak demand from overseas markets as well as increased international trading frictions,” China customs spokesman Zheng Yuesheng said.

China’s export prices for commercial-grade, boron-containing hot-rolled coil have fallen by more than 17% since early March to $495-505 per tonne in the first week of July. Cold rolled coil prices have fallen by more than 16% over the same period.

However, with orders picking up since June, finished steel export volumes could increase in the next few months, export sources predicted.

Finished steel exports were still up 12.8% year-on-year during the first half of 2013 at 30.69 million tonnes.

China’s finished steel imports were down 13.6% on the month. The country purchased 1.08 million tonnes of material in June, compared with 170,000 tonnes in May.

Accumulated finished steel imports for 2013 totalled 6.83 million tonnes, down 1.8% y-o-y.