iron ore imports and finished steel exports both rose in March
compared with the previous month, according to preliminary
Chinese customs data.
A 14.4-percent increase in iron
ore shipments to 64.55 million tonnes was attributed to
Chinas high crude steel production, which averaged 2.07
million tonnes per day in March (
amm.com, April 9), up 3.3 percent from February,
according to China Iron and Steel Association estimates.
Iron ore imports for the first
three months of the year totaled 186.48 million tonnes, little
changed from the same period last year.
Chinas finished steel
exports totaled 5.28 million tonnes in March, up 24.5 percent
from 4.24 million tonnes in February and 5 percent above the
same month last year. March exports also were higher than the
first-quarter average of 4.81 million tonnes per month and the
2012 monthly average of 4.64 million tonnes.
"The further boom in the export
market since mid-January led to a large increase in export
volumes in March," a trader in Shanghai told AMM
sister publication Steel First.
The steady rise in export prices
has spurred traders and buyers to book more cargoes in
anticipation of further price hikes.
Chinas export prices for
commercial hot-rolled coil (4.5- to 12-millimeters thick) were
$610 to $620 per tonne f.o.b. Feb. 22 vs. $590 to $600 per
tonne Jan. 18. Export bookings for March shipment were made
between mid-January and mid-February.
Finished steel exports in the
first three months of the year totaled 14.43 million tonnes, up
18.8 percent from the same period last year.
However, exporters arent expecting shipments in April
or May to be as high, based on transaction records. Bookings
have thinned since Chinese steel prices started to weaken in
March, traders said.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister
publication Steel First.