On October 23, the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced the operation of the iron and steel industry in the first three quarters. In the first three quarters of this year, the operation of the iron and steel industry maintained a relatively stable development trend. However, there are problems such as rapid output growth and sharp decline in profits, which require great attention.
Steel output increased year-on-year. In the first three quarters, the national output of pig iron, crude steel and steel was 612 million tons, 748 million tons, and 909 million tons, respectively, up 6.3%, 8.4%, and 10.6% year-on-year.
Steel prices rose first and then fell. The center of gravity of domestic steel prices in 2019 has shifted down from 2018. The composite price index of steel products in the first three quarters averaged 108.9 points, a year-on-year decrease of 6.6%. Among them, the average price index of long products and plates were 115.0 and 105.0, respectively, down 5.4% and 8.9% year-on-year. The decline of long products was smaller than that of plates. In the first quarter, steel prices showed a slight rebound. As of the end of March, the comprehensive steel price index was 109.69 points, an increase of 2.4% compared with the beginning of the year. In the second quarter, steel prices rose and fell. In the third quarter, steel prices fluctuated and fell. As of the end of September, my country’s steel composite price index was 106.1 points, down 3.1% from the end of June.
Iron ore prices have fallen. As of October 21, China’s iron ore price index was 317.27 points, down 2.02 points month-on-month, down 25.6% from the highest point this year; of which, the imported iron ore price index was 314.33 points, down 2.37 points month-on-month, which was the highest point since this year. A drop of 29%; on October 21, the direct import iron ore 62% grade dry-based powder ore CIF price was 84.9 US dollars/ton, a decrease of 0.75% from the previous month and a 29% decrease from the highest point this year.
At the same time, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology pointed out that industry profits have fallen sharply. From January to August, the operating income of my country’s iron and steel industry was 5.58 trillion yuan. Although it increased by 8.9% year-on-year, it achieved a profit of 225.99 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 24.7%. The industry profit rate was 4.05%, a year-on-year decrease of 1.8 percentage points. According to statistics from the China Iron and Steel Association, from January to August, 90 key large and medium-sized enterprises achieved profits of 136.9 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 29.0%.
Both import and export volume declined. While steel exports in the first half of the year fell by 2.3% year-on-year, steel exports continued to decline in the third quarter. From January to September, my country exported 50.305 million tons of steel products, a year-on-year decrease of 5.0%; the export value was 285.19 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 4.4%. During the same period, my country imported 8.751 million tons of steel, a year-on-year decrease of 12.2%; imports amounted to 71.02 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 12.7%.
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