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China’s steel-product exports rose to a record as the economy cools while iron ore imports slid with prices.
Shipments in November increased 14 percent from the previous month to 9.72 million metric tons, according to data from the country’s customs administration today. Total exports in the first 11 months of 2014 are 47 percent higher than the same period last year at 83.6 million tons. Imports of iron ore, the main material for steel making, fell 15 percent last month to the lowest since February.
China’s steel exports have set records for three straight months as a slowing expansion and cooling construction sector damp demand. The country’s economy is forecast to grow at the slowest pace since 1990. China’s ruling Politburo last week said it will maintain a prudent monetary stance and keep growth within a reasonable range next year.
“Many trading houses doing business with end-users told us the market is terrible,” said Zeng Jiesheng, a Shanghai-based analyst with Mysteel.com, a researcher. “Steel millswere inclined to produce partly due to the low iron ore prices while demand in foreign markets picked up.”
The price of iron ore, a feedstock for blast furnaces, slumped 47 percent this year in China, falling below $70 for the first time since June 2009 on Nov. 25. Imports in November declined for the second month to 67.4 million tons, customs data showed today.
The country’s crude steel output rose 5 percent in the first 10 months of the year to 685 million tons, according to the latest figures from National Bureau of Statistics.
Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., China’s biggest publicly-traded steelmaker, cautioned in October that this quarter would be difficult for the company, reflecting the challenges facing an industry beset by overcapacity, a slowing domestic market and simmering trade tensions.
The price of steel reinforcement-bar, or rebar, used mostly in construction, declined 29 percent this year to 2,542 yuan a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.