FOCUS: Chinese hunger for billet 'set to persist'

Chinese demand for imported billet increased sharply in the first six months of 2020 due to higher domestic prices in China in comparison with those beyond its shores, and market participants expect this situation to persist in the second half.

Buyers in China started importing billet in large quantities since the second half of 2019, and the volume of imports grew gradually month on month.
In January-June 2020, China imported 3.06 million tonnes of billet (HS code 72071100) - 33 times the 92,448 tonnes imported in the first six month of last year, according to Chinese customs data.

India was the biggest supplier of billet to China in the first half of this year, following by Russia, Iran, Vietnam and Malaysia.
High Chinese prices
Market sources said the main reason for the huge growth in imports is China’s prices for the semi-finished steel products.

For instance, in the second quarter of 2020, Fastmarkets’ price assessments for steel billet domestic, exw Tangshan, Northern China averaged 3,195 yuan ($458) per tonne.

In contrast, Fastmarkets’ price assessments for steel billet export, fob main port India averaged $368 per tonne in...


Jessica Zong

August 04, 2020

12:18 GMT