SHANGHAI Chinas automotive sector maintained its strong performance in September, traditionally a peak month for the industry, according to the China Association of Automotive Manufacturers (CAAM).
The country produced 1.9266 million vehicles during the month, the third-highest level of 2013. That total is up 16 percent year on year and 14.9 percent higher from the preceding month, according to data released by the association Oct. 11.
Meanwhile, vehicle sales for the month reached 1.9358 million units, up 19.7 percent and 17.4 percent in the same comparisons.
"Both vehicle production and sales were booming over the past month and saw significant increases on both a monthly and yearly basis, which clearly signaled a peak month. However, ... the large increase was partly based on the relatively low number over the same period of last year," CAAM official Chen Shihua said at a press conference Friday afternoon.
During the first three quarters of 2013, Chinas vehicle output totaled 15.9384 million units, up 12.8 percent year on year, while vehicle sales increased 12.7 percent to 15.8831 million units.
"Its almost certain that the countrys vehicle output and sales will exceed 21 million units this year with a double-digit growth rate," a Beijing-based auto analyst told AMM sister publication Steel First.
CAAM forecast at the beginning of this year that Chinas vehicle sales could enjoy a 7-percent annual growth in 2013 vs. only 4.3 percent in 2012.
"The good performance in the auto sector is expected to lend some support to the upstream steel industry, but oversupply remains a big problem that could keep steel prices in check," a Shanghai-based steel analyst said.
Baosteel Group Corp., the countrys largest auto sheet producer, said on Oct. 10 that it would roll over its November list prices for flat products, including cold-rolled coil and hot-dip galvanized coil.
This reflects the steelmakers pessimistic outlook on the domestic steel market for the fourth quarter. Other major flat product producers, including Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Corp. and Anshan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd., could lower their list prices in the next few days as well, sources said.
A version of this article was first published in AMM sister publication Steel First.