China’s ferrous industry capacity utilisation dips to 75.6%, data shows

(The story appears here courtesy our content partner Mysteel Global)

The capacity utilisation among China’s ferrous industrial enterprises including mining, steelmaking, and fabrication averaged 75.6%, being higher than the 71.1% for all the industrial enterprises, and its on-year slip by 4.5 percentage points was less than the 5.1 percentage points for the whole, according to the data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

In the first six months, the second quarter performed better, as the utilisation rate posted at 78.4%, down 2.5 percentage points on year but up 6 percentage points on quarter, NBS data showed.

The COVID-19 in the first quarter had affected all the industrial sectors with ferrous being no exception, a Beijing-based market analyst commented.

“Comparing with the slower recovery in some steel-consuming industries, the Chinese steel mills have been striving to return to normal operation immediately with the easing of the lock-down efforts in curtailing the pandemic across the country,” he added.

The NBS data showed that auto manufacturing, for example, recovered more slowly, as its capacity utilization rate fell 10.4 percentage points on year to 66.8% by the end of June, even though the rate was also higher in the second quarter at 74.6%, or down 1.6 percentage points on year but up 17.7 percentage points on quarter.

Liu Aihua, the spokeswoman of the NBS confirmed that China’s supply side had revived faster than the demand side at the press conference on Thursday.

“This could have had to do with the decision making, which is more concentrated in the supply side while more dispersed in the demand side, though some sectors in the supply side also recovered faster than the others such as catering and hospitality industries,” she said.

Lower impact of pandemic

China’s steel industry has in general been less affected by the COVID-19, and most of them had been operating for most of the first half, with the country’s daily crude steel output for June having hit a new record high of 3.05 million tonnes/day, up 2.6% on month, and the country’s total steel production still grew 1.4% on year to 499 million tonnes for the first half, Mysteel Global noted.

Mysteel’s survey on the blast furnace capacity utilization rate among China’s 247 steel mills also posted strong performance, up for the fifteenth consecutive week over June 19-24, up another 0.76 percentage points to 93.42%, also a new high since the commencement of the survey in March 2018, or 3.92 percentage points higher on year.

Rebar, the most popular steel product of all in China, had its weekly output among the 137 Chinese steelmakers exceeded 4 million tonnes over June 25-July 1, also a new high Mysteel commenced the survey in February 2015, or up 6.1% on year.

(Written by Venus Wang, wangyi@mysteel.com, and Hongmei Li, li.hongmei@mysteel.com)

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