MySteel Global – Stocks at China’s steel mills climb by another 2.1% on slowing demand

Stocks of the five major finished steel products at the 184 Chinese steelmakers Mysteel surveys weekly continued to swell over August 20-26, due to the slowing demand from end-users, with the tonnage growing for the third week by another 2.1% on week to about 7 million tonnes, Mysteel’s weekly survey showed.

The five major items comprise rebar, wire rod, hot-rolled coil, cold-rolled coil and medium plate.

Steel production has stayed at a relatively high level recently given that the mills are still enjoying reasonable margins, while domestic traders have slowed their pace of stocking and have adopted a wait-and-see stance, given the moderate demand from end-users, a market source in Shanghai said. The mills’ inventories have mounted as a result, he told Mysteel Global.

Over August 20-26, total production of the five major steel products among the surveyed steelmakers reached 10.91 million tonnes, almost the same level from one week earlier, or recording an increase of 4.7% on year, the survey showed.

Chinese steel demand remained tepid over the past week. Mysteel’s survey among the 237 trading houses across China showed that daily trading volume of construction steel including rebar, wire rod and bar-in-coil registered 208,831 tonnes/day on average over August 20-26, lower by 9,675 t/d or 4.3% from one week ago.

Therefore, inventories of the five major steel products at commercial warehouses in 132 cities grew for the second week to 22.8 million tonnes over August 21-27. The on-week rise widened to 0.5% against the prior week’s 0.2%, another Mysteel survey showed.

Market participants expect demand from end-users to improve in the upcoming peak season for steel consumption as weather become comfortably cool in most regions across China. However, the high stocks held by both Chinese steelmakers and traders have dampened domestic steel prices a little, Mysteel Global notes.

For example, China’s national price of HRB 400 20mm dia rebar, an indicator of domestic steel market sentiment, had weakened to Yuan 3,831/tonne ($556/t) including the 13% VAT as of August 26, sliding by Yuan 20/t on week, according to Mysteel’s data.

(Written by Nancy Zheng, zhengmm@mysteel.com; Edited by Russ McCulloch, russ.mcculloch@mysteel.com)

Table 1 Five major steel products inventories at mills (Aug 20-26)

ProductVolume (‘000 t)WoW (%)MoM (%)YoY (%)
Rebar3,806.43.6%6.6%41%
Wire rod740.10.1%-7%6%
HR sheet1,212.51.8%8.5%22.5%
CR sheet326.22.5%-0.9%11.8%
Medium plate912.6-1.6%7.2%18.8%
Total6,997.82.1%5%28.5%

Table 2 Five major steel products inventories at traders (Aug 21-27)

ProductVolume (million t)WoW (%)MoM (%)YoY (%)
Rebar12.41.1%0.5%
Wire rod3.380.2%-5.7%
HR sheet3.41-0.1%-1.5%
CR sheet1.67-0.7%-3.7%
Medium plate1.91-0.7%-1.8%
Total22.760.5%-1.3%

Note: Mysteel has started publishing the new set of data regarding traders’ steel inventories since March 19 to better represent the market with bigger sample sizes, and the on-year comparisons will be filled up when feasible.

Rebar and wire rod: Sample size is increased to 429 warehouses in 132 Chinese cities from the previous 215 warehouses in 35 cities.

Hot-rolled coil (HRC): Sample size is increased to 194 warehouses in 55 cities from the previous 138 warehouses in 33 cities.

Cold-rolled coil (CRC): Sample size is increased to 182 warehouses in 29 cities from the previous 134 warehouses in 26 cities.

Medium plate: Sample size is increased to 217 warehouses in 65 cities from the previous 132 warehouses in 31 cities.

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