IREPAS committees: China to resume exports amid domestic coronavirus impact

Tuesday, 03 March 2020 14:53:34 (GMT+3)   |   Istanbul

At the last session of the SteelOrbis 2020 Spring Conference & 82nd IREPAS Meeting held in Belgrade on March 1-3, the chairmen of the IREPAS committees for raw materials, producers and traders shared their comments with the general participants at the event regarding the current hot topic of the coronavirus outbreak. Regarding the impact of the coronavirus on the global iron ore market, the committees expect that demand for iron ore will return after the initial dramatic slowdown. The chairmen said that it is not easy to know why iron ore prices go up and down even in normal times. Meanwhile, it is heard that Chinese steel mills have huge unshipped stocks and that Chinese exporters are expecting prices to fall. Also, the first offers of Chinese billet to the Mediterranean region have been heard. Consequently, all committee chairmen expect that China will return to the export markets.

Considering the production cuts in the Chinese market due to the coronavirus, the chairmen think some products may miss the “product season”; however, this is not expected to affect China’s ability to export as it is likely to turn to the foreign markets amid the current conditions in its domestic market. One other view is that China may export more as it has already started exporting significant volumes of rebar to neighboring destinations like Hong Kong and Singapore.

The best-case scenario regarding the impact of the coronavirus is that “the world loses business for two months, that the world loses confidence in itself, and most likely China will take a confidence hit of large proportions, while the worst scenario is that the steel industry will be hit like in 2009, as has the stock market just this past week,” the IREPAS committee chairmen agreed.

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