FOCUS: China's post-holiday uncertainty overwhelms Asian steel market
A hazy outlook for China’s ferrous sector after the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday is overwhelming the Asian steel industry, resulting in a market divided on prices and purchasing decisions, sources told Fastmarkets this week.
"The situation for the Chinese steel market is unclear now. It's not clear whether demand will rebound after the Chinese New Year. Many market participants in the country are divided," a flat steel trader in Southeast Asia told Fastmarkets.
China’s public holiday for the Chinese New Year is over February 11-17, but many have started their break much earlier than usual due to regional requirements to either undergo testing or quarantine to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The rising number of Covid-19 infections in northeastern China has also caused differing sentiment between that region and eastern China. Mills in Tangshan are more eager to export long steel products such as rebar and wire rod compared with their counterparts in the east.
Reduced construction activity in some regions due to lockdowns being imposed to bring down Covid-19 cases caused demand and prices for rebar to fall in January.