China’s apparent steel demand falls 4.74% in H1

China’s apparent finished steel consumption was down -4.74% year-on-year to 343.72 million tonnes in the first half of 2015. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says crude steel production was down 1.3% over the same period to 409.97mt.

Crude steel output was down -0.8% y-o-y to just 68.94mt in June, while apparent steel demand was down -3.86% y-o-y to 57.77mt. This appears to suggest the downward trend slowed in June. Month-on-month, crude steel output was up 1.84% to almost 2.3 million tonnes/day, while apparent demand was up 2.39% to 1.93m t/d.

This is likely skewed by steelmakers’ insistence on keeping production high in June however. Rising steel market inventories show that apparent demand is currently running higher than real demand and this should mean production cuts from July. Signs of a reduction were already emerging at the end of June.

Falling steel demand and apparently stable GDP continue the growing trend of a lower steel intensity of the Chinese economy.