In March, when the steel industry in Europe and the United States had only started to face the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, China began to recover, resuming normal operating rates and starting to absorb almost all available spot pig iron volumes from the global market.
In January-June, China imported 1.96 million tonnes of pig iron. Of that volume, 648,000 tonnes came in June, when tonnages booked in March started to arrive, according to Customs data. Over the same period last year, pig iron imports into China totaled only 131,000 tonnes.
“These tonnages are crucial for the global pig iron market; but China, who makes a billion tonnes of steel per year, consumes all this with a blink of an eye,” one pig iron buyer said.
High, stable demand in China has supported global pig iron prices, while demand in traditional outlets - in the United States...