The Coal Trader

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China’s BF capacity use rises further to 82.98%

The blast furnace (BF) capacity utilization rate among the 247 Chinese steel producers under Mysteel’s regular tracking climbed for the second straight week to reach 82.98% over January 12-18, albeit by a small 0.42 percentage point on week, with some more mills restarting production from maintenance stoppages during the survey week.

Over the latest survey period, daily hot metal output among the sampled steelmakers also edged up by 0.5% on week to average 2.22 million tonnes/day, and their average operational rate was 76.23%, higher by 0.15 percentage point from the previous week.

“Some mills in South China resume operations after completing their annual overhaul this week, and the output from the mills that restarted production in the previous week is also climbing,” a market analyst based in Shanghai said. However, some mills in North China stopped production to conduct their regular maintenance this week, he added.

The increases in the hot metal production also led steelmakers’ iron ore consumption to rise, Mysteel Global noted. Over January 12-18, daily consumption of imported iron ore among the 247 mills Mysteel tracks averaged 2.7 million t/d, higher by 19,400 t/d or 0.7% on week.

Meanwhile, these mills’ iron ore inventories mounted further as they were building up feed stocks to guarantee their normal production during the Chinese New Year holiday in mid-February, the survey showed. As of January 18, total imported iron ore stocks held by these sampled 247 mills gained 2.6 million tonnes or 2.6% on week to reach 102.4 million tonnes.

However, the majority of domestic BF steelmakers were still suffering losses as the prices of finished steel products continued weakening this week, Mysteel’s other survey showed, with only around 26% of the 247 steelmakers under the survey managing to earn some profits during January 12-18.