FOCUS: China re-acquires appetite for steel imports amid global pandemic

China has re-acquired its taste for steel imports in the past few weeks due to an open window for arbitrage between its domestic market and the rest of the world.

A more controlled descent of its steel prices has made it a major importer of steel, especially semi-finished products, with markets in the rest of the world trending downward amid stringent lockdowns and reduced operating rates imposed by various governments to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The large quantities of imports have started to put pressure on China's domestic steel prices. Some market participants are expecting demand for imports to wane in the coming weeks as a result of this.
About 500,000 tonnes of billet have been imported into China in the past week or two, at prices of $360-380 per tonne cfr China. The latest transactions, involving Russian materials, were concluded at $360-365 per tonne cfr.
China has also imported billet from Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia.

“As long as import prices are lower than China’s domestic prices, local buyers will continue to book imports,” an...


Jessica Zong

Miranda Song

April 03, 2020

10:40 GMT