Chinese steel exports reached their highest level last year, hitting 118 million tonnes for all steel products, up 20% year-on-year, following a 51% year-on-year rise in 2014.
In the first four months of this year, exports rose a further 7.5% year-on-year. Net exports (exports minus imports) were 104 million tonnes (up 26% year-on-year) and equal to 12% of the non-Chinese market – up from 9.4% in 2014 and 3.8% in 2010.
The immediate "cause" for this rise was the sharp slowdown in Chinese steel consumption in recent years (apparent consumption fell 2.5% in 2014 and almost 6% in 2015) and the attractiveness of overseas steel prices compared with Chinese domestic prices.
In both 2014 and 2015, global prices fell by less than Chinese domestic prices.
Chinese exports have contributed to the fall in steel prices in recent years, but falling raw material prices were a bigger contributor with the cost of iron ore...