China's finished steel exports over January-February fell 18.8% year on year to 8.234 million mt, General Administration of Customs data showed March 7.
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The daily average of exports in the two-month period was also down 13.9% from December, the data showed.
China's imports of finished steel fell 7.9% year on year to 2.207 million mt over January-February, but the daily import volume was up 15.8% from December.
Net finished steel exports over January-February fell 22.2% on the year to 6.027 million mt.
China's finished steel exports were likely to remain low in March but were expected to rebound strongly in April and May due to robust overseas order bookings since the end of February, market sources said.
Buyers from Asia, the Middle East and Europe have been turning to Chinese hot rolled coil as an alternative option in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the sources said.
S&P Global Commodity Insights earlier reported that overseas order bookings for Chinese HRC, as well as for some full hard coil, have reached around 400,000-500,000 mt since the end of February. Most of the orders were for April or May shipments.
On the other hand, market sources expected China's finished steel imports to continue falling in the coming months due to sluggish domestic demand caused by the slowdown in China's property investment.