Chinese Steel Production Shrugs off Rule Changes

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

Despite the Chinese government’s moves to curb annual production to reduce pollution and capacity and surging iron ore prices, China’s crude steel output hit an all-time high in April, thanks to continued high demand and strong profit margins.

China said it produced 97.85 million tonnes of crude steel in April, up 13.4% on a weak April 2020’s 85.01 million tonnes.

The National Statistics Bureau said the April figure was 4% above the 94.02 million tonnes of crude steel produced in March.

Output over the first four months of the year surged nearly 16% to 374.56 million tonnes from the same period last year.

Last week’s trade data showed that iron ore imports totalled 98.57 million tonnes last month, down from 102.11 million tonnes in March but up from 95.71 million tonnes in April 2020.

Reuters said that demand for iron ore remained strong, however, as mills that were not subject to output curbs imposed by authorities to reduce carbon emissions and smog boosted up production.

In the first four months of 202 imports rose 6.7% to 381.98 million tonnes of iron ore from the first four months of 2020 when shipments were restricted by Covid.

Exports of iron ore through Port Hedland fell 7.5% in the four months to April.


Monday saw a part recovery in iron ore prices from Friday’s record one day falls, according to MB Fastmarkets.

Prices rose as the most-traded September iron ore futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) ended up by 2.1% from last Friday’s close of 1,173 yuan ($US182) per tonne.

Fastmarkets said there was $US8.98 a tonne rise in the price of 62% Fe fines delivered to northern China to $US217.77. There was a $US7.36 a tonne rise in the price of 58% Fe fines to $US186.65 a tonne. 65% Fe Fines from brazil saw a $US7.60 a tonne rise to $US249.30 tonnes.

Traders said China’s record monthly crude steel figure released on Monday bolstered confidence.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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