China has exported less hot-rolled coil since the Section 232 tariffs took effect, but soft domestic demand and prices have pushed some tonnages abroad since late October. The HRC price in eastern China began trending downward in mid-September, and plunged to a year-to-date low of 3,570-3,590 yuan ($514-517) per tonne on November 27, according to Fastmarkets assessments.
Over the year, the country’s HRC exporters have lamented weak demand, especially in southeast Asia, but some mills and traders have enjoyed more active market conditions since late October due to weaker domestic prices. Meanwhile, some other regions such as South Korea and South America helped to boost China’s HRC demand.
Vietnam, one of the largest users of Chinese HRC, has been prevented from selling cold-rolled and hot-dipped galvanized coil processed from Chinese substrate to the US due to a duty circumvention probe. That hurt China’s HRC exports to Vietnam, although more significant factors included lower bidding prices...