China’s June steel exports dip slightly to 5.22m tonnes

China’s steel export volumes for June dipped to 5.22 million tonnes, from 5.23 million tonnes in May, according to preliminary Chinese customs data.

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This marked a 0.2% drop from May’s figure, but it remains 21.7% higher year-on-year.

“June shipments have not fully reflected the weak market that began in mid-April,” an exporter in Shanghai said.

Export prices for commercial hot rolled coil with boron have dropped to $580-590 per tonne fob from $600-610 per tonne fob in early June. They compare with $640-650 per tonne fob in April.

China’s domestic commercial-grade HRC prices have also fallen to 4,040-4060 yuan ($639-642) per tonne, down 90-100 yuan per tonne from a month ago.

Exports for the first six months of 2012 totalled 27.25 million tonnes, 12.1% higher than the same period in 2011.

June’s export figure was also well above the monthly average of 4.54 million tonnes for the six months of 2012.

Some exporters are expecting lower export volumes in July and August as overseas buyers had made fewer bookings since June following the continual drops in Chinese domestic and export prices.

But others are not worried about the export outlook.

Export volumes will not always drop sharply amid a market in decline as Chinese steelmakers will forego high profits by setting competitive prices just to get their huge output moving overseas, a sales director with Hebei Steel said.

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