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Stainless steel imports decreased by 30.76% in March, overseas demand increased sharply, and exports exceeded 450,000 tons in March

In March 2024, China experienced significant shifts in its stainless steel trade dynamics, as outlined by SMM statistics:

Imports:

  • China’s total stainless steel imports in March 2024 amounted to 161,500 tons, marking a notable decrease of approximately 30.76% compared to the previous month and a year-on-year decrease of about 3.07%.
  • Despite the overall decline, stainless steel imports from Indonesia surged, reaching approximately 122,900 tons, signifying a year-on-year increase of about 35.81%. However, this also represented a substantial month-on-month decrease of about 38.47%.
  • Import of stainless steel coils experienced a significant downturn, decreasing by about 60,000 tons compared to the previous month, constituting only 55% of coil imports in February. This decline was attributed to the relatively weak domestic stainless steel market in March.
  • Indonesian stainless steel production remained steady, leading to increased stainless steel resources flowing into other countries.

Exports:

  • China’s total stainless steel exports in March 2024 amounted to 458,900 tons, exhibiting a substantial month-on-month increase of 42.62% and a year-on-year increase of 17.65%. This surge propelled exports to exceed 450,000 tons again after a decline in February.
  • Export of stainless steel coils notably increased by approximately 113,000 tons compared to the previous month. Various other stainless steel products also experienced significant export volume increases.
  • Asian countries, particularly Vietnam and South Korea, witnessed considerable growth in demand for Chinese stainless steel exports. Vietnam saw the largest increase in exports, reaching 43,200 tons in March.
  • Despite a decrease in proportion compared to the previous year, India remained a significant destination for Chinese stainless steel exports.
  • Demand from Europe and the United States remained high, with the latter experiencing a notable increase in exports by 7,700 tons, representing a 45% increase compared to the previous year.
  • Foreign demand for Chinese stainless steel is expected to remain robust in 2024, partly due to the closure of overseas stainless steel mills and the transfer of demand to China.

These statistics highlight the dynamic nature of China’s stainless steel trade, influenced by both domestic market conditions and global demand dynamics.

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