As expected, China’s crude steel output had exceeded 1 billion tonnes for 2020, approximating 1.05 billion tonnes or up 5.2 per cent on year, according to the latest release by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The year-on-year growth was 3.1 percentage points lower than that for 2019, as the battle against the COVID-19 for most of the first quarter of 2020 affected the steel output and demand to some extent, Mysteel Global noted.
However, China’s crude steel production had posted on-year gains since April and the pace picked up in the latter months, mainly as the domestic demand recovered substantially since the second quarter of 2020 with the resumption of economic and industrial activities and Beijing’s investments in infrastructures as part of the economic rescue efforts.
For December alone, China produced 91.3 million tonnes of crude steel, up 7.7 per cent on year, and the daily output also recovered 0.7 per cent on month after having retreated on month for October-November, Mysteel Global calculated based on NBS’s data.
For finished steel, the production for the whole 2020 grew more substantially by 7.7 per cent on year to 1.3 billion tonnes, and the December output alone reached 120.3 million tonnes, which jumped 12.8 per cent on year as against the 10.8 per cent on-year growth for November, according to NBS data.
The strong performance in the country’s finished steel output matched the overall enthusiasm among the Chinese steel producers to maintain high finished steel output most of the time last year on the positive steel margins due to the robust demand first at home and then from abroad in the latter half of 2020 on the ease of the impact of the COVID-19, Mysteel Global noted.
Robust demand also saw China’s finished steel stocks empty to the pre-pandemic “normal” level by the end of 2020, and stocks of five major finished steel products comprising rebar, wire rod, hot-rolled coil, cold-rolled coil and medium plate at the commercial warehouses in China’s 35 cities, for example, totalled 8.4 million tonnes, or up just 2 per cent on year. China’s steel exports grew on month for the fourth month by December to 4.85 million tonnes, up 10.2 per cent on month or 3.5 per cent higher on year, as reported.