China Commodities Forum & 2017 Mysteel Annual Meeting was held during Dec 16-18, 2016 in Shanghai, China. Ms. Ren Zhuqian, Senior Analyst & Assistant to President, on behalf of Mysteel Research Institute (MRI) delivered independent report on China steel industry in 2017, which divided into four parts as follows:
The first part is from fundamental sector to analyze China steel market situation since 2016 this year, which eyed a W-shaped fluctuation trend. She noted that that the supply-side plus stable growth remained major run-logic for 2016 steel market. After Spring Festival holiday, steel mills showed notable signs of output suspension, with lower inventories, mainly impacted by rising pessimistic market sentiments. Approaching to the slack season for spot market demand, both of futures and spot market prices presented skyrocket growth on mismatched supply and demand ties, which even hit a record high in late April, with a rise of over 60% in some specs. And then, along with the steel mills resumed production on the reversed supply & demand tie, the spot steel prices posted a nosedive of 1,000 yuan/tonne in one month. After late May, the prices kept fluctuation trend, which started consecutive rebounding till the end of Jun, with flourish demand in traditional slack season. Meanwhile, impacted by nationwide environmental protection survey, G20 Summit and output suspension in Tangshan, the steel prices were on the swell. Post National 7-day holiday, domestic steel prices eyed a rapid increase as improved demand, simultaneously stimulated by hiking coke and coking coal prices. After the entry of Nov, the steel prices again moved uptrend despite a slight retreat. By Nov 25, MyspiC composite price index gained a swell of 62% compared with the year start. To sum up, China steel market in 2016 are featured with crazy price surges and nosedives, improved steel mills’ profits and capital speculation etc.
As for futures market, which also bottomed out with larger fluctuation ranges from than in 2015. By Nov 30, the most-traded rebar contract prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended the day at 3,000 yuan/tonne, up by 1,223 yuan/tonne from the year start, or 69%; that of benchmark May hot-rolled coil contract closed at 3,247 yuan/tonne, 1,318 yuan/tonne or 68%. During the same period last year, rebar futures were off by 26%, and that of HRC down by 34%.
Second part is mainly concentrated on the analysis of supply and demand sector. It is required that China should eliminate 100-150mln-tpy of crude steel capacity in the following five years, with substantial progress in industrial merges & acquisitions. By 2017, the capacity utilization rate should stand at above 80%. In 2016, China is aimed to compress 45 million tonnes of crude steel capacity.
During Jan-Oct this year, the output of crude steel was accumulated at 67.296 million tonnes, up by 0.7% from one year before. Although demand improved better since this year, the crude steel output slowly rebounded in early period, yet impacted by high production costs in BFs steel mills, frequency output suspension and medium-and-long-term weak expectation etc. Along with the steel prices eyed continuous rebound during Jul-Aug this year, the output refreshed a new high record as improved profits, or even with weak demand, which also continued to stay at a high level. In Sep alone, traditional peak season, the output eyed a yearly rise of 3.1%, creating a single-month new high record since Jul 2014. As predicted, the crude steel output would shrink month-on-month as a slide in demand and lower spirits of production for steel mills.
In the first ten months, investment in national infrastructure construction kept stable and rapid growth, presenting a year-on-year increase of 19.4% during Jan-Oct, which accounted for 19.6% of total investment projects, 1.8 pct points higher from one year ago. Total investment in newly-commenced projects reached 41.09 trillion yuan during Jan-Oct, soaring 21.8% on a yearly basis, with the growth rate falling by 0.8 pct points compared to that in the first nine months, according to data released by the National Development and Reform Commission.
In the first ten months, the number of new foreign-invested enterprises reached 22,580 in China, up 7.4% year-on-year; China's actual use of foreign capital stood at 666.3 billion yuan, an increase of 4.2% on a yearly basis, the Ministry of Commerce Thursday said.
Meanwhile, the private fixed-asset investment rose by 2.9% year-on-year to 29.773 trillion yuan, with growth rate 0.4 percentage points faster than that in the first nine months. Private fixed-asset investment accounted for 61.5% of national fixed-asset investment (excluding rural households) in January-October, up 0.1 percentage points compared to that in the first nine months, down 3.2 percentage points against the same period of last year. From January to October, national fixed-asset investment (excluding rural households) hiked 8.3% on a yearly basis to 48.443 trillion yuan, with the pace 0.1 percentage points faster than that in January-September. In October, the investment in fixed asset (excluding rural households) gained 0.58% month-on-month.
China's fixed-asset investment maintained steady growth in the first ten months of 2016, with investment by the private sector showing signs of improvement. Fixed asset investment grew 8.3 percent year on year to 48.44 trillion yuan during the January-October period, up from the 8.2-percent gain seen in the first three quarters. Investment by the state sector surged 20.5 percent during the period, while private-sector investment increased 2.9 percent, 0.4 percentage points higher than that in the first nine months.
The third part is focusing on China’s finished steel exports, which in Oct alone came in at 7.7 million tonnes, falling by 12.5% from Sep and went down 14.7% from the same period a year ago, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs. In the first ten months of the year, Chinese steel exports arrived 92.74 million tonnes, inching up by 0.7% year-over-year. in the sector of export structure, flats steel products led the top one, with the proportion of 43%.
Finished steel imports into China registered 1.08 million tonnes in Oct, sliding 50,000 tonnes from a month ago while advancing 13.7% year-on-year. January-October imports of finished steel increased by 2.1% to 10.91 million tonnes. Improved market demand in 2016 led a rise in steel imports. However, China steel export drops 4 months in a row on escalating trade frictions. In the first eight month this year, China suffered 85 trade remedy instigations from 25 countries and regions, within USD10.321 billion involved, up by 94% year-on-year, incl. 35 investigation in steel sector, with the involved capitals reaching USD5.88, up by 63% from one year ago. Actually China is always the largest target to be in face of trade remedy investigation for 21 years.
Besides, China would encounter much more difficulties as higher domestic steel prices. As learnt, due to Jan and Feb are the traditional slack season for consumption, so steel mills would search export opportunities to ease their sales pressure. However, currently, China’s export prices are gradually loosing competitiveness as the export prices of rebar from Middle East and East European countries and regions seemed lower, so the steel exports would be even worse in 2017, presenting a sliding trend.
Total social inventories of five major steel products posted a shrink of 27% during Jan-Oct on a yearly basis, and that in key steel mills eyed a fall of 17% from one year ago. In 2016, social inventory extended sustainable sliding trend as previous years, though the situation is better than that in 2015, steel traders paid close attention to stockpile control to avoid potential risks after they experienced cold winter of steel industry in 2015.
Last, Ren gave her prediction toward 2017 China steel industry, with growing possibilities that steel prices would run better in 1H than that in 2H, and China’s economy would continue carry out bottom-out progress in 2017, presenting L-shaped tendency. Secondly, China’s crude steel output would eye a shrink of 0.2-0.6% to go at 800-803 million tonnes in 2017, with the national consumption volume to post a fall of 0.9-1.4% in 2017. Last, the steel prices in 2017 would move up by 10% from this year, with good industrial profits, and longs steel presented better market performances than the flats.
-Edited by www.Mysteel.net