FOCUS: Chinese steel mills snub export market on bullish April domestic outlook

Chinese steel mills are ignoring low bids from overseas buyers on expectations of continued strength in China’s domestic market over the remainder of April, sources told Fastmarkets MB this week.

Expectations of a supply drop have also improved sentiment in the spot market.
Steel prices in China have been on an upward climb since the end of the Lunar New Year.
Domestic hot-rolled coil prices in eastern China were at 4,000-4,020 yuan ($596-599) per tonne on Monday April 15 - the first time that they exceeded 4,000 yuan per tonne since November last year. These are about 400 yuan higher than prices in mid-January, when they fell as low as 3,620-3,630 yuan per tonne.
While export prices for the same product have experienced a similar trend - the Fastmarkets MB fob China HRC Index went from $479.30 per tonne on January 4 to $534.06 per tonne on Monday, an increase of about $55 per tonne - profit margins in the domestic market have been more lucrative for steelmakers.

A Hangzhou-based trader said HRC supply in Shanghai...

Published

Jessica Zong

Paul Lim

Miranda Song

April 16, 2019

10:55 GMT

Singapore, Shanghai