Blast furnace capacity utilization among the 247 Chinese steelmakers using blast furnaces recovered further over March 13-19 to 75.26%, a latest survey released on March 13 showed. The rate was up by 1.36 percentage point on week as more China’s steel mills beefed up operations over the period.
The sampled makers' daily molten iron output also grew over the period, rising by 38,000 tonnes/day to 2.1 million t/d in total, while the operational rate of the blast furnaces at the 247 mills gained further by 1.16 percentage points on week to 73.75%.
A Shanghai-analyst remarked that he had heard that some blast furnaces in North China's Hebei province and East China's Jiangsu province had resumed production over the past week after their latest rounds of maintenance. “The China’s steel market is recovering, which is prompting steelmakers to gradually increase their production.” he explained.
According to him, the pressure of high in-house finished steel stocks and capital liquidity that steelmakers previously encountered has gradually eased amid the pickup in steel demand among steel end users.
In fact, total stocks of the five major finished steel products, namely rebar, wire rod, hot rolled coil, cold rolled coil and medium plate, at the 184 steel mills across China had turned a corner over the March 5-11 week, reversing down by 4.5% from the previous week's record high, as steelmakers restricted production and demand from end users recovered further.
The latest data showed that total stocks among these mills declined at a faster pace over the March 12-18 week, down by a sharp 9.6% on week to 11.67 million tonnes by March 18.
Meanwhile, inventories of the five major steel items held by Chinese traders have started to clear after steadily increased for nearly three months, with the stocks held by trading houses in 35 cities reversing down by a significant 2.4% on week to 25.4 million tonnes over March 13-19.
On the other hand, iron ore buying among Chinese steel mills has been active recently, which was noted from market sources. The daily trading volume of imported iron ore port inventories among the 52 surveyed ore traders averaged 1.67 million tonnes/day during March 16-19, which was higher than the average volume of 1.49 million t/d the previous week.
Over March 13-19, the survey among a smaller sample of 163 BF steel producers nationwide saw their blast furnace capacity utilization rate increase too, rising by 0.45 percentage point on week to reach 73.78%.
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(Transferred from Mysteel Global)