The Coal Trader

Coal News Coal Markets Blast Furnace

China’s Blast Furnace capacity use stable at 82.76%

The blast furnace (BF) capacity utilization rate among the 247 Chinese steel producers under Mysteel’s regular tracking stood largely stable on week at 82.76% during March 22-28, though it dipped 0.03 percentage point from the previous week.

During the same period, the daily hot metal output among these sampled steelmakers was also generally unchanged at 2.21 million tonnes/day, down by a tiny 800 t/d on week, while their average operational rate lost 0.3 percentage point on week to reach 76.6%, the survey showed.

The mild decline in production was mainly due to routine maintenance among the sampled steelmakers, Mysteel Global noted.

As such, the mills’ demand for steelmaking raw materials slightly waned, with the daily consumption of imported iron ore among the same 247 mills under Mysteel’s tracking averaging 2.7 million t/d over March 22-28, dipping 3,100 t/d on week.

As of March 28, the total inventories of imported iron ore held by these sampled steelmakers dropped 2.5 million tonnes on week to reach 91.5 million tonnes, the survey showed. This would be sufficient to last them for 33.9 days at their present use rate, shorter by 1 day from the prior period, as Mysteel assessed.

The marked retreat in steel consumption among end-users made domestic steelmakers more cautious about ramping up production, and they tended to keep their feed stocks at a low level to avoid financial risks, market sources observed.

On the other hand, domestic BF mills’ profit margins improved overall as the prices of imported iron ore reversed from the prior week’s rise and slumped again amid intensifying pessimism, Mysteel Global noted.

By March 28, for example, Mysteel PORTDEX 62% Australian Fines in Qingdao stood at Yuan 790/wmt ($109.3/wmt) FOT and including the 13% VAT, lower by a marked Yuan 52/wmt or 6.2% on week.

As of the same day, around 29% of the 247 steelmakers under Mysteel’s coverage managed to make some profits on steel sales, higher by 6 percentage points from the previous week, according to Mysteel’s tracking.

Written by Anthea Shi