Hebei I&S steel exports up 52% on year in H1

Finished steel exports at northern China’s Hebei Iron & Steel Group (Hegang) jumped 52% year-on-year to 1.954 million tonnes in the first half as the company expanded its overseas business.

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This volume accounted for 11% of total output in H1 from the country’s largest steelmaker and was above its export target of 10%, the company said.

“Chinese mills are making efforts to develop overseas markets given the oversupply in the domestic market,” a source at Hegang said. “Steel exports can not only relieve mills’ sales pressure but also help them to lift domestic prices through controlling deliveries.”

Out of all products exported by Hegang, cold rolled coil was the best-seller with 1.08 million tonnes shipped in the first six months, a year-on-year increase of 52%.

Hot rolled coil exports saw more significant increase, jumping 338% from H1 2012, as Hegang subsidiary Tangshan Iron & Steel increased its HRC shipments, while another subsidiary, Chengde Iron & Steel (Chenggang), resumed operation at its HRC production line. The company did not specify the export tonnages for the product.

Chenggang stopped its HRC production line in November 2011 due to a sluggish market and didn’t restart it until March 2013.

Good order situations at major Chinese flats exporters since June have led to relatively tight supply in the domestic steel market, which in turn have supported spot HRC and CRC price since early July.

Eastern Chinese domestic HRC prices have risen by around 4% since the start of the month, according to Steel First pricing archive.