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March, 21st 2018

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China Steel Intelligence

Issue 23 02 Mar 2018

CSI: Will inventories sink the ship?

The dearth of data in February means a shorter CSI but that does not mean we cannot investigate some important features of the market. In fact, the build-up of inventory in the run up to the strong demand period after the Spring Festival holiday is often the single most important factor in determining the strength of steel markets. And this applies both in China and abroad each year. Although prices have held on since the holiday, after a drop for rebar at the start of the year, growing concern over inventories means there is little space for prices to increase.

The question now is, will real demand rescue the market or will inventories sink prices?

Issue 22 01 Feb 2018

CSI: Has the steel export mix changed forever?

China’s high and rapidly growing export volumes used to be the single most important factor in global steel pricing but 2017 saw a sharp reversal, opening up markets to greater competition.

A closer look at the data however shows not all products and regions are seeing decline and in this issue we look in more detail at how China’s steel export flows actually changed.

How these flows change is likely to have a significant impact on both domestic and overseas markets and looking at how different products compare is essential to understand how differing markets will be impacted.

The question now is, how have Chinese exports been transformed and will the same trends hold?

Issue 21 05 Jan 2018

CSI: Strap yourselves in for a bumpy 2018

As the new year begins the outlook for Chinese steel is far more positive than it was a year ago, but it is unlikely to repeat the success it had over the last twelve months.

In this issue we break down our forecasts for the year by sector, as well as the key overarching trends, especially in policy, which inform our numbers.

Our conclusions are that, while overall demand is unlikely to grow further and should trend slowdown down over the coming years, short term volatility will remain high, or even increase.

The political environment is priming prices for sudden and unexpected movements, and market participants will have to react quickly to make the most of short term opportunities.

The question now is, how wrong will the analysts be this year? And why?


Issue 20 01 Dec 2017

China supercharged winter masks glacial shifts in demand

The start of winter restrictions has sent steel prices higher, especially for rebar, and iron ore has followed in hot pursuit, as we describe in our markets section. Now however, attention is turning from winter to the coming year. Ahead of an end-year round-up and more detailed predictions in the December issue, we first lay the groundwork for understanding China’s steel markets in 2018.

Most notably, this is a good month to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. China’s steel demand, overshadowed by the drama of this year, is in fact continuing to develop broadly along lines seen since 2014. Understanding how those broader trends interplay with the sudden impacts of policy changes will be key to the coming year.

The question now is, will China maintain the fine balance between sufficient reform and maintaining stability?