China's steel products price mixed in late November, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The prices of rebar and wire rods dropped, while those of medium plates, hot-rolled thin sheets, seamless steel pipes and angle steel continued rising during the last ten days of November.
The price of HRB400 Φ16-25mm rebar was 4,058.8 yuan/t ($621.4/t) by late November, dipping 5.4 yuan/t or 0.1% over mid-November, reversing a growth of 4.3% in the previous session.
The price of HPB300 Φ6.5mm wire rods was 4,288.9 yuan/t, down 10.9 yuan/t or 0.3% from mid-November, compared with an increase of 4.9% in the previous session.
The price of Q235 20mm medium plates was 4,049 yuan/t, gaining 29.5 yuan/t or 0.7% from mid-November, with the growth 0.1 percentage point narrower than the previous period.
The price of hot-rolled Q235 3mm thin sheets was 4,207.9 yuan/t, up 53.8 yuan/t or 1.3% from mid-November, narrowing the growth by 0.7 percentage point than the previous session.
The price of 219*6, 20# seamless steel pipes was 4,435.6 yuan/t, growing 42.3 yuan/t or 1% from mid-November, with the growth expanding 0.5 percentage point from the previous period.
The price of 5# angle steel was 4,034 yuan/t, ticking up 13.2 yuan/t or 0.3% from mid-November, compared with a wider growth of 1.5% in the previous session.
Steel prices rose remarkably overall in November driven by strong demand and high production cost. The price of imported iron ore spiked to $130/t once again, and coke prices increased by 350 yuan/t in seven consecutive rounds of markup.
However, it may be difficult for the steel market to keep the upward trend in December. On the one hand, environmental production curtailments have limited impact on the total steel output, and the operating rate of blast furnaces keeps high.
Data from the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) showed the daily crude steel output of key steel producers averaged 2.11 million tonnes in late November, dipping 0.36% than mid- November but still 7.18% higher than the year-ago level.
On the other hand, steel demand lacks momentum to continue rising, which can be justified by the slowed depletion of steel inventories. Stocks of the five major steel grades in 20 cities totaled 8.37 million tonnes in late November, down 4.3% from mid-November, but the range of decline has narrowed compared to the previous session, CISA data showed.
As the accelerating operation at construction sites in northern China is about to end at the year end, steel demand will gradually weaken in the regions, changing market fundamentals from weak supply and strong demand to strong supply and weak demand.
Without sufficient support from the demand side, China's steel prices are likely to move down.
(Writing by Shengnan Liu Editing by Tammy Yang)
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