SHANGHAI Chinas finished steel exports totaled 5.41 million tonnes in May, down 2.5 percent month on month from 5.55 million tonnes, according to preliminary Chinese customs data.
However, the total is up 2.5 percent from 5.28 million tonnes in March. Shipments in January and February reached 4.92 million tonnes and 4.24 million tonnes, respectively.
"The continual decrease in export prices since mid-March discouraged overseas buyers from making purchases," a trader in Shanghai told AMM sister publication Steel First.
Bookings have also been declining since mid-March, leading to a small month-on-month decrease in export volumes in May. Export bookings for May shipment were made between mid-March and mid-April.
However, booking in May were up 3.4 percent from the same month last year and exceeded the 5.08-million-tonne average for the first five months of this year.
Chinas export prices for commercial-grade hot-rolled coil, 4.5 to 12 millimeters, fell to $550 to $560 per tonne f.o.b. April 12 from $600 per tonne f.o.b. March 15.
For the first five months of the year, exports totaled 25.4 million tonnes, up 15.4 percent from the same 2012 period.
Exporters expect shipments in June to dip further based on their transaction records.
Buyers are also afraid of larger price drops, the trader noted.
A version of this article was first published in AMM sister publication Steel First.